# Using Virtual Tools to Solve Real-World Problems

I recently saw this video come up in my Twitter Feed.  It is about a group of teenagers who are working on a project for Abbott Labs, and the story of their teacher who realizes that after working on this Real-World Problem, that the students will never be able to learn the same way ever again.  Meaning, in the traditional sense, without the technology and virtual tools.  I understand where the teacher is coming from.  But as an educator, I don’t think it should take a project from Abbott Labs for us to realize this.  We need to realize this now.  We need to revolutionize learning for our students now.  We need to take action before its too late.

# Percent Increase and Decrease

Here’s a sample lesson on Percent Increase and Decrease designed for a 52-minute Pre-Algebra class.

1.  Start by watching the video on ‘Percent Increase’.  Make sure that students have the handout so that they don’t have to write down the application problem.
2.  Have students work on the two ‘Group Work’ problems on percent increase.
3.  Follow the same process for ‘Percent Decrease’.
4.  Have the students do the Percent Increase and Decrease ‘Matching Activity’.  You need to have the tiles cut apart for them already.  If there is not enough time to complete this in class (There usually isn’t), suggest that the students take the activity home.  If you wish, have the students bring the completed matches back to the next class for credit.

# This Calculus Game Needs a Sweet Name… Any Suggestions?

I just finished this new Calculus game in anticipation of teaching a lesson on The First Fundamental Theorem of Calculus.  I’m looking to give it a good name.  Any suggestions?

Calculus Game.pdf

Jing Video and notes to accompany my lesson:

View on screencast.com »

Intergal_Video.pdf

Jing Video and notes for the Second Fundamental Theorem of Calculus:

View on screencast.com »

The_Second_Fundamental_Theorem_of_Calculus.pdf

Group_Work_Problems.pdf

# Solving a System of Equations with Two Unknowns

A Sample Lesson on Solving a System of Equations with Two Unknowns
Before you begin, you may want to print the summary sheet below for reference.  The sheet happens to have a major typo, but I think that it’s usually fun for the students to discover it themselves. I’ve been generous enough to correct the typo.
Start out by watching this introductory video about solving an application problem using the addition method.  I recommend printing out the handout of what is covered in the video so that you can take notes as you follow along.

Go to Wolfram|Alpha and make sure that you know how to enter systems of equations there so that you can check your answer using this wonderful tool whenever you are at a computer.  Or even on the go, if you have a smartphone.

This is a link to the solution for the problem shown in the video:  http://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=solve+the+system+.34x+%2B+1.98y+%3D+3990%2C++.73x+%2B+2.45y+%3D+5865

Next, watch this short video on solving systems of equations using the substitution method.

If you have time, which I hope you do, please print out the page below, cut apart, and match the each system of equations with its correct solution.
Finally, here is a link to a wonderful on-line Jeopardy-style game for one or two players, that covers how to solve Systems of Two Equations (and Inequalities) with two unknowns.

http://www.quia.com/cb/79607.html

Here’s a recap of the links that I’ve posted on Twitter over the past week or so:

1.  A friend told me that she used this Divisibility Rocks game from over at The Utah Education Network with her Developmental Math students and that it worked really well.  It turns out that they have plenty of other great lesson plans as well.

2.  Z-Type is a very intense typing game.  It turns out that as a Math Instructor, I do have to teach typing, computer, and writing skills as well.  For example:  One student told me just today that he couldn’t write a paper for my class about an African American Mathematician because he hadn’t had an English class yet.

3.  NightMare is an example of a 25-word story.  I’m considering having my students write their own 25 word stories about a concept in mathematics.  This would be good introductory video to show to students, though, because it is absolutely hilarious!  It’s one of the best laughs that I have had in a really, really long time.

4.  100 Ideas for Data Projector and Document Camera – Well, yeah, these ideas really are for my friends who still want to teach like they’re still in the 19th century.  And even if you’re already using the document camera, I’m sure that you can’t think of 100 ideas.  Well, maybe you can.

5.  Times Attack is an awesome multiplication game that takes over the top spot for me as my favorite multiplication game ever!  And let me tell you, I learned so much from the hour I played this game just about the world of video games.  I was just as frustrated with figuring out how to navigate as I am sure a student would be with doing the multiplication.

6.  Math Illustrations is a new program that I just found out about for drawing mathematical figures that I really think that you will like once you watch the tutorial video on this page.  It is so great that I am really considering the \$59 fee to buy this program because I think it would make my life a lot easier in the long run.  And the Word Drawing tools suck, especially for number lines.

7.  NCTM Black History Month Resources – It’s Black History Month and I am trying to incorporate some lessons into my curriculum.  I found these resources to be extremely helpful.  I am even going to check the recommended book out from my library to read over the next month or so.  I checked already and it is indeed one of the books that they have!

8.  E-Learning Tools for Schools and Education is a Mindomo Mind Map with hundreds of wonderful resources for E-learning.  There are a lot of tools that I thought were regrettably left off the list as well.  However, I know that there are plenty of resources on the list that I have yet to explore.  I hope that you have time to explore some of them as well and to find what will work best for you.

9.  Math Wordles – I have talked about Wordles on this site plenty of times in the past and this activity just reminded me of the fact that there are so many things that can be done with a Wordle.  My plan is to develop a modified version of this activity in the near future to use with one of my classes.  As described, I think this could be a great activity for Math Anxiety toward the beginning of a semester.

10.  On-line LaTeX Equation Editor – I think LaTeX is so easy for entering equations, and I especially love how in the newer versions of Word I can type LaTeX code directly into Equation Editor.  However, even that bridge until the next time I can use LaTeX is not enough.  I can see this on-line tool being a great use to some people.

11.  TED Talks I’ve ‘liked’ over the past week:

# A Couple Useful YouTube Videos

Taking a moment to share a couple of finds of the day…