Monday, September 28, 2009

Parallel Lines, Parallel Universe

How great are 3 day weekends?

I was walking around this afternoon trying to find examples of parallel lines and angles in the real world that might help my students see the relationships better (yes, this is really what math teachers do in their spare time).  All the examples everyone gave in class came back to me - the lines in the sidewalk, the train tracks, the painted lines that divide the street into lanes - there seems to be no end to models of parallel lines in the real world.  And I was thinking how abstract this concept may feel to some students, but how important it is in the physical world that lines that are meant to be parallel actually are (studs in construction, for example, and walls in houses).  While there are many examples of buildings that use lines that aren't parallel in their design to beautiful effect (as above),  we still need the floor to meet the wall at a right angle.

Here's a question - are the frets on a guitar parallel?  what about the strings?

See you tomorrow -

Ms. M

Monday, September 14, 2009

Points, Lines & Planes - oh my!!!

I was so impressed today with everyone's focus on the basics of geometry - all of the students seemed to be working hard to internalize the concepts of these very important building blocks, taking copious notes and making lovely sketches.   I know that if we can take good care with this beginning the material, the rest of the year will be much more successful for everyone.

At the moment, I'm a happy math teacher.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Addendum to Day 2

It's almost time for Project Runway (one of my family's favorite shows!).   If anyone reads this tonight and watches the show,  look for examples of symmetry and/or scale, and make a post or send me an email - more extra credit!!!

After Day 2

I can't believe we've only been back at school for 2 days - in some ways it feels like everything is brand new, and in other ways, it feels as if we never left!  Even though there are a lot of new names to learn, I really enjoy the prospect of finding out about my new students.  It's great when other teachers tell me, "Oh you're going to love him" or "She's so terrific in class!"  I look forward to learning about these people on my own.

In Geometry, many of the students emailed me with examples of symmetry.  My favorite example was from a girl in my 3rd period class, who described to me the process of folding a tissue over and over to create new lines of symmetry.  And then somebody else wrote about their grilled cheese sandwich, cut symmetrically along the diagonal.  Right now I am looking at my black cat, whose face looks pretty symmetrical, but it probably isn't exactly. 

I'm still waiting to hear from the Living Math students about scale, although one student sent me an excellent example of a scaled image of another scaled image - a pocket subway map!  I appreciate everyone's indulgence of my own scaled drawing on the SmartBoard ; )
Well, it's on to Multiple Intelligences for everyone - I'm really looking for ideas from my students as to how they think they can best express their understanding of math.  More on this over the weekend.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Getting Ready

"And that’s what I want to focus on today: the responsibility each of you has for your education. I want to start with the responsibility you have to yourself. "

This quote is from the speech President Obama gave today at a high school in Arlington, Virginia (you can read the entire speech here -   I hope my students heard his speech today, and that they realize that doing well in school isn't for their teachers, or their parents or families - but for themselves, for creating their own opportunities for the future.  And I hope they also paid attention to his plug for math:

"You’ll need the knowledge and problem-solving skills you learn in science and math to cure diseases like cancer and AIDS, and to develop new energy technologies and protect our environment."

Tomorrow the teachers go back to school, and then on Wednesday, all the students arrive.  And thus another school year begins.  I wonder if the students have the same questions that teachers do - Who will be in my classes?  Will the classes be interesting? Who will be eliminated this week on Project Runway?

My lessons for the first week of school are ready, and I am currently preparing math-y artwork with which to decorate the classroom, trying to include themes of geometry, math in the world, and humor.  Even though it's fun to set up the classroom myself, I love the way the room takes shape as the year progresses, as my students create work which shows what really goes on in Room 303. 

And even though it is hard to say farewell to summer vacation, I have to admit that I am excited for the new adventure that the school year brings.  Every year, every class presents new challenges and new possibilities.  So on to the possibilities......