Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Today Was "Actually" a Good Day

This morning I had fun doing math. We warmed up with the "Sign Post" problem which I was all over trying to solve it mathematically, until someone figured it out with Google...this kind of sucked the fun out of doing the math, but I'll give HB credit for finding the solution albeit a little too easily for my liking. Check out http://www.agoogleaday.com/ for its daily puzzle that provides some more challenging work in using your search skills.

I made up part of a denominator in a chocolate bar problem at our Regional SIM session, and I'll admit I was a little stressed. As a "math guy" I feel that there is an expectation that I should be able to answer math problems quickly and correctly especially in front of 150 educators. I know I should be more comfortable with making mistakes, I just don't know anyone who WANTS to be wrong. So for participating I was rewarded with an 85% Cacao chocolate bar...a little bitter, but still yummy!

Things got a little hazy here for a while, but a slide deck referring to the optimization of a rectangular dog pen struck a chord with me. When explaining to a colleague what I was pondering they suggested I should ask other people. Alrighty I thought, lets tweet this to Grade 9 math teacher extraordinaire Kyle Pearce:
 Boo Yah! *Bonus - I just learned how to embed a tweet conversation into a blog.

On to exploring Grade 9-12 math tasks, and to be honest I was unimpressed. Perhaps it was my initial dismay, or thinking about the Dog Pen problem, or focusing on classifying the tasks in front of us, but I TOTALLY overlooked what appears to be a real gem.

The sum of two numbers is 28 and their product is 5. What is the sum of their reciprocals?
It wasn't until debriefing afterwards when a colleague pointed out this problem did I see what I had missed. This question is not a simple component of factoring a quadratic...so tomorrow I'm going to revisit this and see if I can figure out its solution. Also, thanks to MC for sharing about a teacher who let his class choose if he should use the mean, median, or mode to calculate their grade. What a great application idea for students!

In the afternoon we had some great sharing and discussion about what, as math coaches/numeracy facilitators, we had been working on with teachers in our boards and what we were seeing in their classrooms. Lots of good stuff happening and I promised that I'd share more of the resources I'm really enjoying for math instruction: * this is off the cuff, so I'll probably come back and update it more later. I'm still struggling with how best to curate.

Estimation 180
Math Talks
Visual Patterns
Math Arguments
Graphing Stories
Would You Rather

Bedtime Math (I really like the App, and so does my 5 year old daughter)
1001 Math Problems
Problem of the Week (CEMC)

3-Act Tasks:
Dan Meyer
Geoff Krall
Kyle Pearce
Robert Kaplinsky

To wrap up our day seven of us were meeting for a social discussion when an impromptu game of Farkle broke out! It was the fist time playing for almost all of us, and it was a lot of fun, and a little competitive. Plus some really great mathematics discussions took place during the game, mostly focused on number sense for scoring and probability for making decisions. What is the probability of getting Farkled? Congrats to the birthday girl for winning.

To cap off the evening I was fortunate enough to experience firsthand a simple reminder why math is so important in real life:

Dinner Bill - $16.49
Drink Bill - $9.39
Total - $36.00 (calculated mentally by the waitress)

"Math never ends" - me

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