A Mathematical Conversation and Why Experiences Matter

The other day I was talking to a student that I tutor about measurement. He was having trouble visualizing a yard outside of the flat grassy area in front of his house…his words. I knew that the student was an athlete so I immediately started inquiring about yard lines on a football field. We then took out a ruler…a real one (not a formula chart with a printed one) and began talking about inches and feet. We drew one yard by moving the ruler 3 times. The student then started talking about the number of rulers that would fit between …

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The Act of Real Experiences in Math

The first time that I took kids outside to measure the heights of buildings and poles using sunlight, shadows and mirrors, they thought that I had surely lost it. They had never been outside of their district printed worksheets and the idea that math could be just as physical as science was alarming. For me, it was instructional. For starters, I learned that tasks such as this work best when the expectations are clearly defined. I also learned that experience, even when imperfect, can serve to better prepare students for the math within it as long as they are owning …

Talking Math with Braeden and Teachable Moments

This past weekend, I took some much needed time to spend with my nephew before he started school today. I had a weekend of haircuts, projects and movies planned, our typical time together. Our project was to include a family game dealing with twizzlers where we explore how many ways that we can evenly divide a chosen number of twizzlers with various family members. It’s a game of fractions that I played with my own children. We barely made it into the game when Braeden stopped me to ask a “burning question”…his words. He wanted to know if the earth …

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Want to Know What Kids Think in Math? Let them Speak!

I am often asked about specific apps for math to which I always reply with questions regarding intent, standards or content. Almost always, I ask teachers if they have ever listened to their students during their problem solving process. This is where the blank stares happen followed by “aha” moments. Evidence is telling and often written evidence is full of false positives. Our kids “get” the right answers and their work may even justify that. We make the assumption that they’ve mastered the standard. What written work does NOT tell us is if students truly understand what they are doing…as …

Why It’s Cool To Record Math Teachers Talk

This is why video is important. This was AVID Summer Institute years ago. We were developing a lesson for the Monty Hall Problem…Stick or Switch. Just watching this makes me smile as we, math eds, tend to make everything as hard as it possibly can be. We did not have twitter at the time. I wonder if I am connected to any of these individuals. If I am, tweet me! @rafranzdavis Btw, here is the Stick or Switch Lesson from NCTM Illuminations Also, here is the NLVM applet, which does not work on mobile.

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The AVID Induced Geometry Lesson that Changed Everything

When I first started teaching Geometry, I used the pile of worksheets that I was provided by my school. It killed me to see our kids just solving “naked problems” and everyone being okay with it. Naked Problem: Find the missing side…and that is it!     Our Unit on Right Triangles went as follows: Pythagorean Theorem Pythagorean Triples Converse of the Pythagorean Theorem 45-45-90 Triangles 30-60-90 Triangles Trigonometry (basics only ratios of sin, cos, tan) Each lesson was another isolated idea. It was bad but being new to High school math, my choices were limited to following the course …

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Why I Will NEVER Flip This Algebraic Journey

I’m not in the classroom anymore, but I will always be a math teacher. I’m still planning to do adjunct teaching in the fall for our local junior college. Thus, I’m STILL a math teacher…ALWAYS. I’m working on editing a video for mathagogy.com, which is a new site dedicated to highlighting teaching strategies from around the globe in 2 minutes or less…although very few are meeting the 2 minute rule! My video is about how I use stories to help students think about linear equations and their world. I begin by talking about my “job” as a painter, web designer, lawn mower, …

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Math Stories with Google Story Builder

Teaching Algebra 1 was surely a highlight of my career as a math educator. While most non math speaking adults may cringe at the idea of loving all things algebra, I would challenge you to spend a single day with me and leave without feeling the same sense of glee! For me, the best part of Algebra 1 was the insane amount of math stories that could be told through each lesson. As a matter of fact, I can’t think of a single idea in Algebra that does NOT relate to real life as we live it! Today, I was …

My Life As A Math Tinkerer: A Haiku Deck

I absolutely LOVE Haiku Deck! If you are looking for yet another quick activity that kids can do during these final days, have them create a Haiku Deck reflecting on themselves, who they were at the beginning of the year, who they are now and where they plan to be in the future! In the meantime, enjoy my Haiku Deck about my life as a “math tinkerer” 🙂   Created with Haiku Deck, the free presentation app for iPad