Saturday, November 18, 2017

Exponential Functions, Percents, NJHS, CS4All, Big Apple Award Nomination

It seems like just yesterday it was summer vacation, and now here we are, with holiday music playing.  Fellow teachers, we have made it to Thanksgiving week!  Looking over my plans from last December, I really enjoyed what I was doing with my classes last year.  Since my pacing is a little different this year, I'm not in the same place as last year, but I think I can make it work.

8th Grade Algebra 1 & Exponential Functions
Currently, my 8th grade Algebra 1 students are wrapping up their unit on exponential functions, which I have really enjoyed this year.  In addition to the Lunar Rover project, they investigated Decaying Dice, Paper Folding, Human Population GrowthHow to Survive a Zombie Attack(which didn't go as smoothly as I had planned, and are currently working on their final project, where they are analyzing data from five regions affected by the Zika virus, including total population, number of infected people, and weekly growth rate, (1) come up with a mathematical model for the growth of the virus, (2) determine the critical point when half the population could be infected, and then (3) choose a country/region that they feel should receive aid over the other countries and write a formal persuasive letter to the US government with at least three pieces of evidence supporting their argument.  I got it from my Math for America Social Justice PLT.  I launched it yesterday, and they will be working on it next week, and every student was engaged!  I launched it with this video, then we did a notice and wonder looking at a bar graph and scatter plot of Zika data, and then they began their work with their tables, coming up with their models & discussing implications of their models.  I love the cross curricular & social justice connections and am looking forward to reading their letters.  This project is new to me, but I already know it will be one of my favorites of the year.  After Thanksgiving we begin quadratics.

7th Grade & Percents
My field trip to the Museum of American Finance with my 7th graders last week was fun.  I wasn't totally happy with how the Illustrative curriculum was going with percents, so I decided this week they would work on this Store Sales & Profit Analysis project, and they loved it!  Engagement was high and I was able to check in with students one-on-one and address misconceptions as they were coming up.  I had done a modified version of this last year, but added to it this year and love how it came out.

Next week, they are working on their Hourly Wage project (which I do with my 7th graders every year) only this year I took out the suggested careers (because I feel like in the past it has limited them) and they are going to be researching their own, picking one, modeling it mathematically, and calculating hot long they would make in a day, week, year, and how long they would have to work to purchase various things.  I like that I made it more personal this year as it seems to really hook this class.  After Thanksgiving, we will do a little work with similar figures, and then begin our unit on expressions and equations.

This week, we begin sharing info about our new NJHS chapter with our students.  This our first year and I am the chapter advisor.  I was happy that so many students were showing interest.  We just wrapped up the first marking period, and will be using cumulative averages from marking periods 1 & 2 to begin looking at students to invite.  I am really glad that we have been able to bring this program to our school this year.

Memory Makers
I love my elective.  These past couple of weeks, we have been working on making cards & posters showing our gratitude for the people in our lives (friends, family, teachers, etc...).  After Thanksgiving, we will be shifting our focus more on working on the school yearbook (which I am also the adviser for and is new to me this year) and I know things will get busy fast, but I think it will be fun.  I have a good group of students, who are creative, and I know will do an awesome job making the yearbook great. 

CS4All Hack League
This morning I attended a PL for the CS4All Hack League by Games for Change and the Institute of Play and is part of NYC's Computer Science for All initiative.  Myself and the programing teacher at my school went, and even though I was out of my element, I had a great time and learned a lot and am looking forward to supporting him in running a Hackathon at our school next month.  Even though our school isn't fully a part of CS4All, it's nice to be a part of both Computer Science for All and Algebra for All.

Big Apple Award Nomination
Lastly, I was very honored to be nominated for the Big Apple Award this week!  I have never been nominated before, and it was a nice little surprise.  Even if I am not invited to actually apply for it (I'll find out in the winter if I am), I felt very appreciated.

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