Category Archives: Algebra 1 Support

The In-N-Out Problem

I did “The In-N-Out Problem with my Algebra Support classes this week.¬†See “The In-N-Out Problem” here.

This conversation introduced our lesson:

Me: “So, have you guys ever been to In-N-Out before?”

5 minutes of discussion, which inevitably includes one kid screaming across the room to another kid, “WHAT?! YOU’VE NEVER BEEN TO IN-N-OUT BEFORE?!”

Me: “Great. Have you ever heard of the ‘secret menu’?”

5 more minutes of discussion, which inevitably includes half the class yelling that they’ve never heard of a secret menu and demanding to know how you can see the secret menu, and the other half of the class still yelling about how much they love In-N-Out.

I introduced the idea of the 3×3, and 4×4, and showed them the picture of the 20×20 (see link above).

5 more minutes of discussion, which inevitably includes someone thinking they are HILARIOUS when they yell out that the picture looks like diabetes.

Me: “No, diabetes is caused by too much sugar. This is heart disease.”

Continue reading

Week In Review – Week 4

Financial Literacy

We started the week with a quiz on bank accounts, balancing a checkbook, and simple interest. After the kids were done with the quiz, I used a pop culture reference to introduce compound interest, which was the next thing on the curriculum calendar.

See, I am awesome. I intersperse my lessons with pop culture references. Continue reading

But are we learning?

A couple of days ago, one of my students asked me if I was going to stay up that night to see Mars. It was news to me that Mars was doing anything special, but I didn’t ask him to clarify. I just explained that no, I was not going to stay up late to see anything. I was going to get some sleep, because “I am a much nicer person when I’ve had a decent amount of sleep. Trust me, you want me to get some sleep.” Another student asked me if that’s why I’ve been so nice to them lately. Continue reading

Noah’s Ark

One of the things I started my Algebra 1 Support classes off with on the first day of school was Fawn Nguyen’s Noah’s Ark problem.

Wait. Before I begin, I want to say this problem is REALLY HARD. I worked it myself a few times, couldn’t figure it out, and finally wound up needing Fawn herself walk me through the logic of it. (Of course, once you see the logic, it makes so much sense. Also, in my defense, I was on the right track, and then got distracted with something else and didn’t continue that train of thought.) Continue reading

First Days of School

No, I’m not going to quote that Harry Wong book at you.¬†Actually, my thoughts on that book could constitute a whole other blog post. I’ll restrain myself.

I just finished my plans (by plans I mean flipcharts) for the first week of the school year in both of my classes. Does this seem early to you? Then you must not live in Arizona. We are starting school on August 3 in my district. That is two weeks from Monday. Next week I’m going to Twitter Math Camp, and the week after that is the-week-before-school-starts. I’ll probably be spending 2-3 days down on campus getting all the stuff done that I can’t do at home (photocopying entire forests worth of paper), then we are required to report on the Thursday of that week. Which means Thursday and Friday will be spent listening to our admin talk about stuff, participating in meetings, and wondering why we feel like we’re not ready for school to start on Monday.

This means that I am reporting back to school two weeks from yesterday. Wow.

I’d like to outline what my plans are for this week in each class, partly so that when I can’t remember what I did a year from now, I’ll be able to look here. (Let’s be honest – this is only my 3rd time doing the first week of school. I still have no idea if my plans will work. If someone else wants to use my ideas, go for it. I make no guarantees about the quality of said ideas.)

All right, enough dilly-dallying.  Continue reading