When Mathematics Gets Personal

Last year I was introduced to Personal Polynomials over at the Global Math Project through a Facebook post by a fellow educator explaining how she uses this with her calculus students. She asks them to create their own personal polynomial, and then create a graph of its first and second derivatives. Since my goal for this semester was to incorporate Inquiry-Based Learning Techniques into my College Algebra class, I decided to adapt the Personal Polynomial activity for my college algebra students. I considered just assigning the activity for homework, but I decided to take my students to the computer lab…

Life in a Post-Pandemic World

Even though the pandemic is not yet over, I don't think it's unreasonable to think about what life will look like in the post-pandemic world. This week I traveled from Michigan to Arizona for a pre-planned trip that I had between my winter and summer semesters. I thought about not going, all the way up until the very last minute. But then I decided that it seemed like things are the "best" that they're going to get for a while and perhaps I should go before travel does pick up again too much. As a fairly frequent flier before the…

How to Lie with Statistics – Coronavirus Edition

The other day I saw this article on Facebook on, "The Best (and Worst Cities to be Quarantined." Just so you know, even the title of this article is misleading, since after reading the article, I think they mean, "The Top 99 Metro Areas in the United States to be Quarantined Ranked." In any case, my first thought was to check whether my city was in the best 10. Unfortunately, it was not. But I also breathed a sigh of relief when I realized it wasn't in the worst 10, either. After that, I checked to see if any city…

When I teach classes on campus, I have a cart that I take to class that has all of my supplies on it, such as highlighters, pens, and papers. But it also has everything I need for the activities I do with my students. One day in March, I was rolling my cart down the hallway after class, and one of my colleagues asked me what I had my students do that they were excited enough that many of them stayed after class to finish. Then another colleague said that I always have interesting things on my cart and asked…

IBL- I Be Learning (how to teach remotely)

Before all the craziness of this semester began, I was on a quest to implement some of the Inquiry-Based Learning (IBL) Techniques that I learned last summer in my classes. You can read all about that here. But on Wednesday, March 11, I was told that IBL would now mean that I Be Learning how to teach remotely. I had never heard of remote learning before that day. I've heard of distance learning, online learning, and virtual learning, but never remote learning. I realized quickly that the biggest concern for many instructors was how they were going to test their…

I think we've all been there at some point. We get an email from the Art Department or the English Department or whoever it might be from asking for us to offer extra credit to our students who attend their events. However, if it is hard for us to see how the event ties in with the outcomes and objectives of our courses, then it probably even harder for our students to do so. But the students would be more than happy to attend the event if we gave them extra credit, and more than likely, they would get free…

Logarithms and Related Rates

I was at the KYMATYC Conference over the weekend and was inspired by a Presentation on "Introducing Topics with Media." When I came home from the Conference, I created this page on Math in Film and Media. This was an excellent way for me to remember everything I learned during the session. It also helped me remember some things I've done in the past, which I'd forgotten. So, what does this have to do with Logarithms and Related Rates? Well, one of the Media Clips shared during the session was The Log Song – Ren & Stimpy. And this morning, a student…

Inquiry-Based Learning (IBL) Workshops – Torrance, CA

I am glad that I attended this workshop by the Academy of Inquiry-Based Learning because it gave me lots of new ideas for my College Algebra course. It also helped to excite and re-energize, as well as renew my love for teaching. It was helpful to be around like-minded people and know that I am on the right track in doing what is best for my students. Here are some ideas from the workshop that I either have already implemented or plan to implement: Write four problems on the Board and then have students sign-up to present solutions. The student…