World wide mathematics

OK, one of my professional goals this year has been to add authentic (and objective appropriate) international math connections to my lessons. So here are some of my attempts:

Buying fractional parts of villas and jets.
World oil reserves – places and oil types.
Polygons in geography. We are specifically focusing on other continents.
Comparison of square mileage of USA states to European countries.
Water conservation efforts world wide and why they are important.
Comparison of gas prices gallons here to liter in Canada.
Conversion of real-time temperatures in Australia (I know a guy there) to F.
Conversion of mountain heights from Km to Mi.

This is just a few of the things I’ve broached with the kids. It’s late and I just can’t come up with an exhaustive list right now. It’s been thought provoking experience for them and has stretched me.

So why do we need to have these conversations?
When asked how a villa or jet could have fractional pieces. Every class decided it was based on space. No one came up with time allotment until prompted.
I didn’t know there were different types of oil. Extra heavy, heavy, etc. That was bad enough, but the kids didn’t know that there were oils other than olive and sunflower.
No real reason why a 5th grader should know how much gas costs except that it impacts their families. Everyone was surprised at the outcome when they did the conversions. Gas looks cheap when you are only getting a liter.
Europe looks really big until a map is placed over a USA map. we actually drug Europe around trying to find countries the size of Texas and NC.

These have been successful parts of the lessons and I will look for ways to continue them. I was prompted by all the verbiage out there on 21st century learners, but after a few weeks, I can certainly see the benefit.


News: Is It a Sin? – Inside Higher Ed

News: Is It a Sin? – Inside Higher Ed.

Prof 1 shares his materials. Prof 2 removes all reference to prof 1 except for a meta tag. It is confirmed in class that he told the students prof 1 wrote the materials. Prof 1 brings a plagiarism suit. Prof 2 found innocent of intentional wrong doing.

There is past friction between the two.

What do you think? Was it plagiarism?

Research design and sampling

The portion of the text I’m working on right now involves research design. The research designs are interesting enough, although I don’t really think I’m all that interested in conducting my own research. However, I have been thinking about things I could do in the classroom that would be quasi-research in scope and possibly beneficial to how I teach. There is the possibility of pre-testing and post-testing and teaching the different classes using differing techniques to see if one method was truly more beneficial than another.

The portion of this section that is most interesting to me however is the randomized sampling techniques based on statistical probability or those not based on probability. That would be the part of research I could enjoy I think.

The next section is on data collection and I’m pretty sure with my background I’m going to enjoy that one.

So how do we remember material?

The little ditty about how we remember things-

10% of what they read, 20% of what they see, 30% of what they hear, etc.

is a fraud! AND yet, I betcha that I’ve heard it in educational settings (grad school, meetings and in workshops galore).

This article discusses these erroneous statistics with some history of how they might have come about.

Thanks to Bill Heroman for the HT. He also has some commentary on learning.

Very full week (again)

Do you ever look back over a week and wonder where it went? I had one of those this week.

Monday was a continuation of Parent Conferences from Friday.

Tuesday and Wednesday were a continuation of testing. That’s four testing days for 5th graders which seems a bit of overkill for me.

Monday afternoon (as I was exiting the building) I found out that I needed to be at a conference on Wednesday, so a lot of time was spent changing plans. We have a lady that does copies for us. I found things that would work for review while I was out, but the copy lady was out too! Luckily, someone put the key in the copier so that I could get have something simple for the sub!

Thursday and Friday I was supposed to be at a two day math conference. BUT I pleaded that if I were gone on Wednesday, the kids would lose three days of instruction and got to stay in class.

The students do not do especially well with a sub and they’d been off schedule for days. All kids need routine and consistency. Some need it even more. Thursday, they just didn’t want to buckle down. Friday we were back on track.

It’s also taking longer to write lessons still since this is my first year in 5th grade in over a decade. The lesson plan overviews (what I turn in to the principal) don’t take so long, but each lesson has to be written out, problems found, activities prepared. I write next week’s plans on Wednesday, but the whole lesson may not be pulled together until the night before. Yesterday, I spent two hours cutting out laminated cards for various activities next week and only got about half way done.

Now, having said all that, I am really enjoying where I am. I like my co-workers and the students.

Friday morning was game day for a prize student’s had been working for. We played Yahtzee in pairs. Everyone was playing. The rules were being followed (for the most part), and the conversations were all about the game. What a great way to start the last day of the week!