Tuesday, February 28, 2012


Now I'm curious. I wonder what this would like. Would you be able to predict the number of letters in any number (even though it would be easy to count)? What kind of relationship exists? I smell a project....

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

12 Inches of Math (informer!)

We built our first snowman with our daughter this weekend, and it was a tremendous amount of fun. She didn't do much work, but she gets excited everytime she sees it.
I've been trying to harness my inner-nerd this year; trying to find math in everything I see and do. I figure if I want my students to see math in the world, I need to be able to see it too. I imagine this is how Mystery Guitar Man approaches his videos: searching for music in his everyday surroundings and discovering how he can use those sounds to create something new and original that is both visually and audibly pleasing in order to send the message that music is everywhere (hence my previous post, worlds collide). I feel that I'm getting better at recognizing various situations and their mathematical values, but it's taking some time to develop this mindset.
After building our snowman, I realized that there really wasn't that much snow on the ground to begin with, which you can tell from the dirt and mud in the picture, it was just the perfect wet snow for building. I wondered, how much snow did we use in building that snow man? If we would've used all of the snow in our backyard, how big would our snowman be and would that beat the world record? How much snow actually fell (not just how many inches deep)?
I realize that if I'm following the mathematical storytelling model, you should come up with these questions, but they were just some thoughts. Essential info will be posted later (before the snow melts).

Monday, February 13, 2012

We Built This City

How tall is he? And how much does he weigh? How much does he have to eat in order to live a healthy lifestyle? How does he rock so hard?

Friday, February 3, 2012

Betelgeuse, Betelgeuse, Betelgeuse!!

I was talking with one of my colleagues about how we can improve problem solving skills within our students to encourage higher-order thinking skills. In the past, I've shared with him Dan Meyer's 3 Acts and he was as amazed as I was. Together, we've been working on creating problems for algebra1, 2, and geometry that are set up for this process, and he shared with me a video similar to this one that he showed his students. It's a simple video; there's nothing fancy about the way its made and there is no narration, but the possibilities are endless in the way its interpreted. He used it to illustrate scientific notation. My first thought was to ask the question, 'How many Earth's fit inside Betelguese? How many suns fit inside VY Canis Majoris?' You could relate it to similarity, 3-dimensional space, fractions, or a hundred other topics. Regardless of how I end up using it, I plan on removing the diameters from the video so that my students can do some research to find the information that they think they need to answer their questions.
This video further illustrates to me how many questions can be generated from any picture or video. The phrase 'a picture is worth a thousand words' has become more real. I now try to look at my everyday surroundings from a mathematical perspective. I always tell my students that if math didn't exist, nothing else would either, but they always blow me off. Now I'm beginning to gather solid, concrete examples that they can see. I think the way I'm going to approach it from now on is show my students these examples so we can explore them as a class, and then use them to illustrate that math truly is everywhere. If I can get them to believe this, them I'm one step closer to getting them to appreciate everything that happens around them at any given moment.

So, what are your thoughts? What questions come to mind when you see this video?