Sunday, August 24, 2008

United Streaming, Fay, and Other Far-Out Stuff

Recently, a very intelligent cohort of mine called me to tell me that she had found, on United Streaming, an hour's worth of five-minute snippets of real folks telling how they used math in their jobs. She described the very varied types of individuals profiled. All of the interviews sounded great! I cannot wait to watch these interviews.

Then, T.S. Fay toppled a huge Oak tree onto my house and I lost phone service, cable, Internet, and electricity. At that moment, 3:00 A.M. 08-21-08, I started to think about math! Some of my thoughts: Is there still a $5,000 hurricane deductible? How much do carpenters charge per hour? How much does plywood cost per sheet? Exactly how hot will it get in my house without AC? How long will my generator run on one five-gallon tank of fuel?

Math may not always be pretty, but it is always around us!



Thursday, August 14, 2008

1st Thought Was?

I am going to write out a math situation, and then I am going to ask you to do two things. First, I want you to tell me what words you think are the key(s) to solving the problem. Second, I want you to tell me what your first physical step (or first couple of steps) would be to solve the problem (grab a calculator, line up the digits...). ELA FOLKS, THERE IS NO WRONG ANSWER HERE!

Gidgi and Kay-T want to go to a concert with there best friend Roger. The tickets are $37.50 each. Together they have saved $92.75. Do they have enough money? Do they have too much money? Will they get change back? Will they need more money? Will Roger enjoy the show? Will this blog ever end?

OK, I'll Explain The Garb!

Many people have inquired about my state of dress in my photo. Well, here's how it went down. I went to Kingsley Plantation, a former cotton plantation (owned at one point by an African-American woman!). I was visiting the slave quarters that were originally constructed of tabby, a mixture of oyster shell, sand, water, and lime. One of the small buildings was being restored to its original condition which is quite different than the weathered look that the buildings have today. Part of the restoration process involves letting new tabby dry at a slow rate, and that involves wrapping the drying tabby in burlap.

To be short, I found some burlap on the ground. I made my daughter wear it for a gorgeous shot. She took a photo of me, and then the Park Ranger screamed at us for bothering the burlap. Really, it was just resting on the ground.

That's it!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Doubling: A Great Skill & A Million Different Ways To Get There!

Doubling numbers is a powerful math skill. Doubling can help solve a multitude of problems be they addition, subtraction, multiplication, division...

I'll try doubling 13. 13, 26 (two 10s + two 3s), 52 (two 20s + two 6s...40 +12 or 40 + 10 +2), 104, 208, 416, 832, 1664, 3328 (had to think about that one for a moment!), 6656, 13,312, 26,624...

Try to think about why some numbers are easier to double than others. What strategies make the tougher ones manageable?

Try doubling 16 until you run out of MENTAL strategies....What have you got to lose?



Getting Ready For A Brave New Math World

As I sit here, a few days before the kids roll into class, I am thinking about math issues that 10-11 year-old kids would really engage with. I am asking math geeks from all over the planet to send me one idea that they think that the kids would really get a kick out of (preposition, see, I am not an English teacher!).

I know they love to gather info on the size of feet, circumference of heads..., but I really want to start out the year with a meaningful challenge that will generate buzz. I want them to text someone about how cool their work seems.

We are working on building number sense (4 basic operations). So, I would love suggestions in those areas.

Money? "Green" issues? Tech milestones (how much will I have to pay if I go over my texting limit by 1000 texts?)?


By the way how do you subtract 269 from 412? (with no paper, it took me 8 seconds) What you got for me?