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Viewing entries tagged Math

Sparky and the Meaning of Subtracting Negatives

Posted by Diego Fonstad
Diego Fonstad
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on Sunday, 13 February 2011
in Great Explanations

Teachable Moment: Subtraction of negatives can be very confusing and Danica provides a clever analogy of walking a dog to explain this difficult concept. Click on the limage to see concept larger.

An explanation from "Kiss My Math" that uses walking a dog as a way of explaining subtraction of negatives.

References: http://www.kissmymath.com/

Tags: Math
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Posted by Diego Fonstad
Diego Fonstad
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on Saturday, 12 February 2011
in Images that speak for themselves

Teachable Moment: Lets face it, turning a piece of two sided paper into an object with only one side really is magic... and this is a great cartoon to drive home that point.  And the cutting the strip to end up with two linked rings is a pretty cook trick as well.

Howtoons cartoon that explains how to make a möbius strip.

References: http://www.howtoons.com/?page_id=187

Tags: Math
Hits: 19171

Science and Cooking: Heat Temperature and Chocolate

Posted by Diego Fonstad
Diego Fonstad
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on Friday, 11 February 2011
in Videos worth watching

Teachable Moment: Ever wonder how to calculate the diffusion constant of water using a cheesecake?  Watch this video to find out!

In the fall of 2010, Harvard held a GenEd course on Science and Cooking with famous chefs. They posted the public lectures online but even if you don't have 1-2 hours to watch the lecture, the first 10 minutes are worth watching because they quickly cover the science learned in the class that week.

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Lessonopoly

Posted by Diego Fonstad
Diego Fonstad
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on Friday, 11 February 2011
in Online Resources

Lessonopoly LogoTeachable Moment: Lessonopoly is a great collection of lesson plans and multimedia.

Welcome to Lessonopoly! We are an open educational resource aiming to make life a little easier for busy educators like you. Lessonopoly is a free software portal developed by Silicon Valley Education Foundation. This site was created with constant input from teachers to deliver a set of effective and easy to use tools, even for teachers who do not have time to learn new technologies. Lessonopoly empowers teachers to organize activities inside and outside the classroom, create and share lesson plans, and connect to other teachers by building online communities. The Silicon Valley Education Foundation works across the boundaries of all 33 school districts in Santa Clara County to ensure public schools have the resources and expertise they need to ensure our students succeed. Take a look around and let us know what you think! E-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

References: http://lessonopoly.org/

Hits: 11235

BetterLessons.org

Posted by Diego Fonstad
Diego Fonstad
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on Friday, 11 February 2011
in Online Resources

Better Lesson LogoTeachable Moment: Great community of teachers sharing lesson plans etc. 

BetterLesson was founded by a group of teachers from Atlanta and Boston public schools to connect educators and help them create, organize, and share their curricula. We are focused on aggregating and scaling the most innovative content and practices from high-performing teachers across the country.

References: http://www.betterlesson.org/

Hits: 62306

Occam's Razor

Posted by Diego Fonstad
Diego Fonstad
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on Friday, 11 February 2011
in Great Explanations

Teachable Moment: Occam's razor has many applications but recently I used it as a coach for a First Lego League team.  The children were making increasingly complex Lego contraptions and in order to reign them in, I introduced the concept of Occam's razor which didn't dismiss their complex efforts but challenged them to think of simpler solutions.  After a while, all I had to do was simply say "is this consistent with Occam's razor" and they'd go back and find a better solution.

From Wikipedia: Occam's razor (or Ockham's razor[1]), often expressed in Latin as the lex parsimoniae, translating to law of parsimony, law of economy or law of succinctness, is a principle which generally recommends selecting the competing hypothesis that makes the fewest new assumptions, when the hypotheses are equal in other respects.[2] For instance, they must both sufficiently explain available data in the first place.

References: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occam's_razor

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Kiss My Math

Posted by Diego Fonstad
Diego Fonstad
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on Thursday, 10 February 2011
in Favorite Books

Teachable Moment: Obviously this web site has a soft spot for fun and irreverent teaching and this is probably this math book achieves what most people thought near impossible: make pre-algebra fun and accessible.  What more can I say than that my daughter keeps a dog-eared copy as a reference book with her main math textbook?

Last year, actress and math genius Danica McKellar made waves nationwide, challenging the “math nerd” stereotype—and giving girls the tools to ace tests and homework in her unique just-us-girls style. Now, in Kiss My Math, McKellar empowers a new crop of girls—7th to 9th graders—taking on the next level of mathematics: pre-Algebra. Stepping up not only the math, but also the sass and style, Kiss My Math will help math-phobic teenagers everywhere chill out about math, and finally “get” negative numbers, variables, absolute values, exponents, and more.

Tags: Math
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Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman! (Adventures of a Curious Character)

Posted by Diego Fonstad
Diego Fonstad
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on Thursday, 10 February 2011
in Favorite Books

Teachable Moment: Lets face it, most science books are meant to look good on your shelf (think "A Brief History of Time") or are too subject specific for a broader audience.  This book is neither: instead, it's and engaging fun book that interweaves history, physics and teaches about perseverance and the scientific process.

Richard Feynman (1918-1988), winner of the Nobel Prize in physics, thrived on outrageous adventures.  Here he recounts in his inimitable voice his experience trading ideas on atomic physics with Einstein and Bohr and ideas on gambling with Nick the Greek; cracking the uncrackable safes guarding the most deeply held nuclear secrets; accompanying a ballet on his bongo drums; painting a naked female toreador -- and much else of an eyebrow-raising nature.  In short, here is Feynman's life in all its eccentric glory -- a combustible mix of high intelligence, unlimited curiosity, and raging chutzpah.

To Purchase: Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman! (Adventures of a Curious Character)

Tags: Math, Physics
Hits: 30584

NAIS Sustainability Web Resources

Posted by Diego Fonstad
Diego Fonstad
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on Friday, 04 February 2011
in Online Resources

NAIS logoTeachable Moment: NAIS has pulled together a great collection of resources for teachers interested in sustainability.  Well worth poking around this web site and signing up for the Listserve.

Schools need to work toward environmental sustainability by becoming more green, reducing school and personal carbon footprints, promoting a commitment to life-long environmental responsibility, and incorporating environmental education into the curriculum

References: http://www.nais.org/go/green

Radar -> Sputnik -> Serendipity -> GPS

Posted by Diego Fonstad
Diego Fonstad
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on Wednesday, 12 January 2011
in The Mother of Invention

Teachable Moment:This TED video discusses the invention of the GPS as a perfect example of open innovative systems where "chance favors the connected mind".  I also like it because it provides a good example of how innovation can be as simple as merely the inversion of our thinking... in this case, one group of scientists had discovered how to track a moving object in space from a fixed point on the ground... and another one pushed them to think about tracking a moving object on the ground from a fixed point in space.

Hits: 61224
Posted by Diego Fonstad
Diego Fonstad
Diego Fonstad has not set their biography yet
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on Tuesday, 11 January 2011
in Videos worth watching

Teachable Moment: This timeless film is still probably the best way ever devised of communicating relative sizes and magnitudes.

Powers of Ten takes us on an adventure in magnitudes. Starting at a picnic by the lakeside in Chicago, this famous film transports us to the outer edges of the universe. Every ten seconds we view the starting point from ten times farther out until our own galaxy is visible only as a speck of light among many others. Returning to Earth with breathtaking speed, we move inward- into the hand of the sleeping picnicker - with ten times more magnification every ten seconds. Our journey ends inside a proton of a carbon atom within a DNA molecule in a white blood cell.

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Stand and Deliver: Finger math

Posted by Diego Fonstad
Diego Fonstad
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on Sunday, 09 January 2011
in Videos worth watching

Stand and Deliver: Finger MathTeachable Moment: What can you say?  I'd never seen this before and it's a pretty cool way of teaching multiplication by 9s!

Great video from Stand and Deliver

 

Tags: Math
Hits: 11106

Rule of Thumb... for gauging distances

Posted by Diego Fonstad
Diego Fonstad
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on Sunday, 09 January 2011
in Great Explanations

Teachable Moment: What I like about this is how practical it is as a tool while simultaneously teaching ratios and entry level trigonometry.

Your arm is about ten times longer than the distance between your eyes. That fact, together with a bit of applied trigonometry, can be used to estimate distances between you and any object of approximately known size.

Imagine, for example, that you're standing on the side of a hill, trying to decide how far it is to the top of a low hill on the other side of the valley. Just below the hilltop is a barn, which you feel reasonably sure is about 100 feet wide on the side facing you.

Tags: Math
Hits: 66115