First Homework Assignment

Alright.  We’re back online.  I know it’s been a while.

This year, it’s time to really revamp Algebra II.  I have to do a better job of advocating for thinking mathematically and persevering through problems.  So we’re going to start day one.

Here’s their homework assignment:

Mr. Cloud tries to be a healthy person and takes multi-vitamins daily.  He absolutely LOVES the gummy ones!

Here they are:


As he was finishing this bottle, Mr. Cloud thinks he was ripped off (he didn’t get what he paid for).  Here’s what he saw:


Circle One:

Did Mr. Cloud get ripped off?     YES         NO         Can’t Tell

Provide a well written justification for your answer:



So that’s it.  That’s the whole assignment.  And I’m going to leave this right here.  Feel free to comment and argue your point!



Statistics Summer Institute Day 2 (The day I realized my AP Stat students are amazing!)

For all of the stress my AP Statistics students go through and put me through, I realized today that they truly are an amazing group.

Day 2 of the institute had the participants looking at types of statistical data; they dealt with statistical questions, sampling methods, and types of variables. Today, my presentation focused on they different types of variables: categorical vs quantitative.

I started the participants off with the first thing my AP Statistics students do on the first day of school. They have to answer the following questions:

1) How many cats does Mr. Cloud have?
2) What is your favorite color?
3) How many pockets are there on your clothes?
4) How many stars are there on the American flag?
5) What is your favorite pizza topping?
6) How long can you hold your breath?

The answers are interesting and trivial at the same time. After 2 minutes trying to answer the questions, the participants spent a few minutes sorting the questions in meaningful ways. Once the participants decided that Questions #2 and #5 were special because they have categorical (non-measureable numerical) responses, we spent the next two hours discussing what makes a variable categorical and the best way to summarize and represent data that’s categorical (bar graph, pie chart, frequency tables, etc.). It was a relatively uneventful two hours. There was good discussion and I emphasized when and where the standards for mathematical practice were used.

The most interesting part of the day occurred during a break. Some of the participants were discussing how they were frustrated with the amount of statistics we have done and plan on doing. They weren’t complaining, but feeling overwhelmed with the amount of material we have covered and will cover. Upon reflection, the pace and depth of the material we are working with is slower and less than (in most cases) than what we do in AP Statistics. I got a lot of perspective today on the struggles that my own students go though in AP Statistics having less statistical experience than these participants. The amount of knowledge my own students gain is pretty astonishing. I’ll definitely have a different perspective on their accomplishments from now on!

Statistics Summer Institute Day 1 (Mostly Nerves and Fear)

I have the wonderful opportunity to facilitate a two week long summer institute on using statistics in an Algebra classroom. I am working with two other facilitators to help 25 classroom teachers learn everything from what a statistical question is to the basics of probability and statistical inference. Our goals as facilitators is to give these teachers the confidence and ability to teach statistics at a meaningful level to their students next year and beyond.

Day 1: The goals of day 1 include familiarizing the teachers with the common core…er…I mean mathematics florida standards, and have them start tackling the idea of what statistics is. One of the other facilitators is tasked with starting the conversation about what statistics is and how its used.

My task on day 1 is to familiarize the teachers with the standards for mathematical practice. Preparing for this hour long presentation I figured I had two options. I could do every presentation about the math practices that I’ve seen and dryly lecture about what the are and what they should look like…or I could throw them into a lesson that I’ve done in the past and force them to live the math practices. I decided to use the car crash problem. Here’s the link if you missed it:

We started with:
5.3 Intro to Radical Graphs Car Accident Problem_1 - Copy

The teachers decided they couldn’t answer who was at fault for the accident. So, I gave them:

5.3 Intro to Radical Graphs Car Accident Problem_2 - Copy

5.3 Intro to Radical Graphs Car Accident Problem_3 - Copy

They decided to check to see if the relationship between stopping distance and speed was proportional. After a few minutes they decided it wasn’t. Eventually, with some probing, they decided the relationship wasn’t linear:

skid mark scatterplot

skid mark scatterplot linear

skid mark scatterplot square root

They wanted to know the stopping distance of the white car:

5.3 Intro to Radical Graphs Car Accident Problem_5 - Copy

They surmised that the speed of the white car was about 68mph and that that car was at fault for the accident.

That part of the lesson went as planned. Some people were very comfortable with using the math practices in the classroom, some people weren’t comfortable at all, and some people decided not to participate too much in the lesson. It was your typical professional development.

There was one conversation that interested me. A few people “liked the idea” of what we did but concluded that it wasn’t realistic in a middle/high school classroom. Their argument was based on the fact that they had an end of course exam to prepare for. They needed to teach to the test. There’s no way they could do this style of lesson and get anything accomplished in time for the EOC. I tried to assure them that what we did is possible. Coincidentally enough, my geometry EOC scores came in yesterday. Geometry is the class that I’ve spent the most time with creating these styles of lessons and 88% of my class passed the EOC. I really want these teachers to buy into using these math practices for the sake of their students’ learning and loving of math. I’m going to spend every opportunity that I get to present to show them how this can look in a classroom. Hopefully, for the sake of my profession, they decide that this is how a math classroom should look.