Day 130 – Back from Beirut!

We had a long weekend this past weekend, so I went to Beirut with a couple of friends, which was really fun. But our flight path was so fascinating, since we couldn't fly over Israel, Palestine or Damascus, we had to take this crazy curvy route. This brought up so many interesting questions for me (How much more fuel did we use? Was this the optimal path? How do you define optimal when human craziness makes the straight line path unusable?).



Day 129 – Integration Drawing Projects

Today, we began the annual Integration Drawing Projects, in which students use GeoGebra to convert a picture into mathermatical objects using functions and integrals. I always find this project really fun and interesting, and it does a great job getting kids to find areas of weird regions. It's also the perfect thing to do when kids are in and out of class because of APs… We will be working on this for the next 4 days.


Day 128 – Last Homework Assignment!

Today, our last homework assignment of the year was due! For the rest of the year we have APs and projects, which means no more written problem sets (thanks god, I hate correcting homework). Here is a note from a student who has been really sad about all the lasts no matter how banal they are. She said “Cheers to the first time I ever do math homework in my life.” I feel like every year I'm getting better and better at this teaching gig, and one of things I think I did better this year than any other year was in the non-Calculus-student-skills arena. We did a lot of metacognition, talked a lot about how to study and I hammered in some routines. I still have to improve here though because this jank is so important!

(The Arabic says “I will miss this notebook”)


Day 127 – Beginning of the End! (Going over the Mock)

And today marks the beginning of the end of the year. In Calculus, we are starting a couple projects that will take us through 3 weeks of class. In AP, we are reviewing, reviewing, reviewing!

We went over the Mock Exam, which we had this weekend. Overall, results were great. I was happy with the low end of the class (only one 2!) but I felt that a bunch of students who could have gotten a 5 got 4's. If you teach AP and don't do a Mock Exam, I would highly highly recommend it! It is going to be a great way for students to see where they are and focus their studying. We counted it for a grade last year, which was a huge mistake. They stressed out about it and some kids cheated. This was much, much better and I felt more accurately told me and them what they know and what they don't.

In non AP Calculus, we did an in class homework assignment (I had an extra day, and they are being super complainy about APs coming up). I had never done this and I really loved it! It was relaxing and productive and I knew that they weren't cheating!!


Day 126.5 – AP Mock Exam

Today, a weekend day, we had a full 3.5 hour Mock AP Exam (marked but not counting for a grade). This is always a really good experience to see where the students are, though a bit depressing to see the huge gaps in their knowledge (I mean, theoretically, they should be able to get about 80-85% of it correct, the other 15% being stuff that is ridiculously hard). The students did well on the AP scale, which is good I guess, but it's still weird to see how little they know over all. *sigh*


Day 126 – The Volume of a Coke Bottle

All the examples I used for Volumes of Revolution were real objects, but the answers to the integrals didn't really mean anything, so today we tried to use these integrals to find the volume if a coke bottle. I gave them the functions fitting the side of the bottle and they did the calculations, which come out to around 350 mL (instead of the actual 330 mL). It was awesome to have students at the end ask “how did you do that?” So I showed them the process of putting the picture into GeoGebra and fitting the functions, which was a great prelude to the two final projects that we will do in the class!


Day 125 – Visualizing Volumes with 123d Make

We had a great 10 or 15 minutes of class today just trying to practice visualizing volume. This is the first time I have taught this to a non AP class, so I didn't wanted to assume anything by skipping to the calculation part. I brought in 5 or 6 objects that are solids of revolution (like a vase, bowl, glass etc) and had my students try to make them in front of the class with the iPad app 123d Make. Basically, you draw a shape like this:

And it rotates it around the axis on the right to make a solid like this:

This was really, really fun and it was so cool to have immediate feedback for their ideas. The idea of the calculation was still a bit tricky from here, but at least they had no problem with the visualizing part.

The other cool part about the program is that it makes patterns you can use with real cardboard to make the objects that you see.