Saturday, December 17, 2011

Conversion of The Week: How Much Is The Statue of Liberty Worth in Copper?

"The Statue of Liberty ("Liberty Enlightening the World" by Frèdèric Aguste Bartoldi) in New Jersey waters outside New York Harbor is sheathed in copper of average thickness 2 mm. The statue is 50 m high and some 80 metric tons of copper was required for its fabrication. It is probable that few projects before or since the Statue`s construction in 1876-1885 ever required as much copper."

Here is copper prices per pound

Copper Scrap USA
  Most Recent COMEX $/LB  
Dec3.350016 Dec  17:14 NY
Mar3.355016 Dec  17:14 NY
May3.342016 Dec  16:35 NY
USA Consumer Avg $/LB
 Bare Bright3.291Nov 07 
 #1 Wire / Tube3.206Nov 07 

The questions to your student could be.

1) How much is the total amount of copper worth in the Statue of Liberty?
2) If that amount were divided among the population of the U.S. how much would each citizen recieve?
3) From here the educator could ask the question, is the Statue of Liberty worth the sum of its metals or does it represent something more?

Friday, December 9, 2011

Warm-up Activity Involving Time

I love my Think Geek Math Clock! But even if you haven't purchased the clock yet, you can still implement the idea. Simply draw a circle on a piece of paper, add a problem and ask your students to draw the answer in time. As you can see in the problem below, the time is 4:00.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Water Project

Thursday, November 17, 2011

More Real Number Extra Credit

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Volume of a cylinder & The sum of Areas

“Why do we need to know this?” How often do we get these questions in the classroom? Sometimes in order for students to see the value in mathematics you must take it away from them.

Take for example the formula for the volume of a cylinder, V = (pi)(r^2)(h)

If you take away the (h) within the equation you are left with the equation for the area of a circle. Thus, as we know, a cylinder is simply a bunch of circles stacked over top of one another. But, do your students know this?

Here’s an exercise,

1) Bring in a printable worksheet with numerous circles of equal size
2) As your students to cut out each circle

3) Next, ask them to find the sum of all the areas of each circle they cut out

4) Next, ask them to stack all the circles and use a ruler to measure its height

5) Finally, ask them to find the volume of the cylinder using V = (pi)(r^2)(h)

6) Does it closely resemble the sum of areas they previously calculated?

7) Wasn’t it a lot faster?

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Creating a Valuable Expression Game

Creating a Valuable Expression Game
You know the routine, 2x + 3z, evaluate the expression when x = 2, z =1

You see the disconnect here right? None of our students care what the solution is. Now, let’s create a new expression in which students value the solution.

You need

1) A tennis ball

2) Meter/Yard Stick

3) Stop watch

4) A football field/ or play ground

5) And an expression worth evaluating

Here’s the goal. Students will be given points based on two variables: hang time (t), distance (d).

New expression: 2t + 3d

1) Have your students line up at the goal-line of a football field

2) Designate a ball return person

3) Have each student throw the tennis ball as high and as far as they can and record the hang time and distance

4) When you return to the classroom, write the expression on the board and have each student evaluate their points to see who the winner is

Extra: Want to make it harder? Use decimals or fractions.

For example use the expression 2.1t + 3.2d or 2/3t + 3/4d

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Real Number Beer Pong (Extra Credit)

**although not for public school consumption, this is a very neat activity by one of my college students**

Monday, October 24, 2011

More Real Number Extra Credit

I'm a sucker for the real number system :) I love offering extra credit for this topic. Here is a cute idea based on a theme I did many posts ago titled "Pin The Tail On The Real Number Donkey". A student of mine had the same idea and her donkey looks better than mine. The only flaw is that her 'irrational' circle is mixed with the other 'rational' circle. It's still a cute project though!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Making Use of Old Phone Books

Old phone books may still offer some mathematics educational value.


It has plenty of built in subtraction problems

Another project would be to weigh the phone book and calculate the approximate weight of all the phone books in your area. You could even assign an approx cost if you research materials.

But, of all these, the best exercise for authentic learning I can think of is to simply ask your students what we could do with all these phone books? How could they be used in education?

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Math For Breakfast

Here's the scenario, it's Monday morning and your kids are sleepy. The last thing on their mind is learning math. The solution could be as simple as a box of Fruit Loops or Cocoa Puffs!

These yummy treats are packed with fun ways to teach math.

Area, circumference or circles or spheres
Ratio's and Probabilities involving of colors
Adding, Subtracting, Number Sense...the list goes on!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Number Sense For K-2 (Piggybank)

I love this idea offered by one of my previous students. 

Using a picture of a piggybank, seven pennies and construction paper, students may arrange the number seven in various ways showing the properties of equality. 

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Using T-shirts To Teach Math Properties

(Be sure to ask your local stores for donations)

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Geometric Angles & Putt Putt (Math Field Trips)

Why can't we have more math fieldtirps! Kick off the new year by requesting a field trip to learn angles! And what better place to earn various angles than a putt putt corse

(Mini Golf With My Son)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Compound and Simple Interest & Your First Home

Compound and Simple Interest & Your First Home

This is a neat activity if you need to teach compound or simple interest. Bring in one of your local real estate books (or print real estate pics online) and have your students choose which house they would like to live in. Next, have them calculate the total amount they will pay over the course of 30 years using both formulas (if you are teaching younger students who need not yet learn compound interest it may still be in the interest of the teacher to calculate the same home using the compound interest formula)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Playing Squares with Addition, Multiplication, Division & Subtraction

Playing Squares with Addition, Multiplication, Division & Subtraction

Here is another great resource from Mathwise. The game is played normally, like you would play squares (for an example click here) but once the students complete a square using lines they must answer the math question inside the square to get points. If they answer incorrectly, no one get the points.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Word Search Math: Another Wonderful Exercise From Mathwise

Mathwise offers some great exercises. This particular exercise involves a number grid and your choice of addition, multiplication, subtraction or division used with an equal symbol

Simply create, or print off, a number grid and give your students the rules of play

In the exercise below, the students may only use the multiplication symbol and the equal symbol

The students search for numbers that could be multiplied. Next they add the “X” and the “=” symbol and circle.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Sample Space, Clothing and Outfits

Normally a discussion on probability or statistics begins with outcomes from an experiment, what we refer to as sample space

Taken From

sample space is a set or collection of outcome of a particular random experiment.
For example, imagine a dart board. You are trying to find the probability of getting a bullseye. The dart board is the sample space. The probability of a dart hitting the dart board is 1.0. For another example, imagine rolling a six sided die. The sample space is {1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6}.

Examples of Sample Space.
  • The tossing of a coin, sample space is {Heads, Tails}
  • The roll of a die, sample space is {1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6}
  • The selection of a numbered ball (1-50) in an urn, sample space is {1, 2, 3, 4, 5, ...., 50}
  • Percentage of calls dropped due to errors over a particular time period, sample space is {2%, 14%, 23%, ......}
  • The time difference between two messages arriving at a message centre, sample space is {0, ...., infinity}
  • The time difference between two different voice calls over a particular network, sample space is {0, ...., infinity}

Many educators use a tree diagram to help students understand outcomes which is a very handy tool. 

(Flipping a Coin and Rolling A Die)

Yet, even with a great tool like a tree diagram, there is still a disconnect between the teaching and the student. We need a better way to reach them!

I like this idea suggested by one of my statistics students!

How Many Outfits Can I Wear?

Using stickers of different clothing (shoes, hats, dresses, etc), let your students discover the amount of mixing and matching they can perform to create different outfits. 

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Composite Functions and Almonds f(g(x))

Here's a tough concept for high school math students, composite functions (for more on functions click here)

  • Composition of Functions is the process of combining two functions where one function is performed first and the result of which is substituted in place of each x in the other function. 

Yet, what does this actually mean? And how can a young student of math make sense out of such abstract definitions. Let's call upon an analogy using almonds.

Let our ultimate goal be to have roasted almonds mixed with other assorted nuts. Thus, we have two machines; one that roasts the almonds and one that adds other assorted nuts in with the roasted almonds.

But, loosely speaking, a machine is simply a function; it transfers inputs to outputs (or in the language of math it transfers domains to ranges)

Let us revisit our example

(Here is a picture of our process f(g(x))

(Let x, our input, be regular almonds)

(We feed our regular almonds in our first machine, call it our g machine, which roasts our almonds)

(Our g machine takes plain almonds and roasts them, thus, it takes almonds x and roasts them making them g(x). We then take our roasted almonds and use them as our input in the next machine) 

(Here is out next machine, our f machine. Our f machine takes roasted almonds and adds assorted nuts )

(Thus, our final output for our regular almonds after traveling through two machines is roasted almonds with assorted nuts; f(g(x))

(Here is how such a concept would look in a textbook)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Number Sense For PreK-Kindergarteners

This is a cute idea created by one my Hands on Math students who teaches kindergarden. 

The Idea is to have your students arrange the skittles on their card to match the one given to them. After each card the students count the number of skittles they have. The goal is to arrange, for example, six skittles in a variety of different ways on a 5 x 2 card so that students become accustomed with estimating.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Paperclip Division With Remainders

This is a clever idea one of my students came up with for teaching division with remainders.

The student may either place the remainder from their division in the middle page or the amount of times the number divides (not shown here). The student may then either place the remainder or the amount of times the number divides on the edges of the construction paper. This particular student decided to do clusters of paper clips around the edges in 25's.  

Monday, July 25, 2011

Extra Credit From My Statistics Students

Go Faith! Awesome Job With Your Extra Credit!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Rollout Math

This is a neat, cheap and quick idea for teaching basic arithmetic operations taken from the Hands on Math book MathWise. In the pictures I use the letter x, but the project would be neater if you used stickers. 

Monday, July 11, 2011

Paperclip Multiplication, Division, Addition and Subtraction

Here is a fun and cheap exercise for teaching Multiplication, Division, Addition and Subtraction. 

1) Notice how the number three is in the middle of index card
2) Have students use paper clips and each sign +, -, x, / to form a problem with the answer of three

(3 paper clips divided by one paper clip = 3)