A blog about teaching and learning in a maths classroom.

@mathslinks — Added to MathsLinks: Zeno's Paradox - Numberphile via @meaganrodda 9h ago

Maths Teaching Crisis

Wednesday, 09 July 2014 | 0 Comments

Everyday in the media, maths teaching and teachers are being judged. Maths teaching is in crisis. A shortage of maths teachers (and science) and the, presumably poor, quality of maths teaching.

This talk has been around since I've been teaching, and presumably longer. In fact this "crisis" may have been around since 1868:

In a report dated 1868, the Schools Inquiry Commission expressed serious alarm about the neglect of school mathematics and about the effectiveness of teaching the subject in UK.
A history of [MANSW] up to 1985 ... written by John Veness. [source]

Simple Harmonic Motion with Sam

Sunday, 06 July 2014 | 1 Comment

Back in 2012 when I first taught Extension 1 Mathematics, in particular Applications of Calculus to the Physical World - Simple Harmonic Motion (SHM), I captured this clip of my then 2 year old son:

This year, instead of using the clip as just an example, we watched the clip before SHM had even been mentioned. I asked the class to discuss and describe the displacement, velocity and acceleration. They observed, discussed and did a good job of describing (and plotting). (We also played the video at half speed to have a better look)

A little later I remembered that I had seen a Physics teacher blogger using video analysis software. Tracker seemed like the software of choice. This software has "automated object tracking" which worked ok, but I still did a lot of manual tracking. Anyway, here is the result:

This seems a lot more engaging than an applet.

With Extension 2 Mechanics in a week, it might be time to get Sam on his bike for some circular motion.

(Here's a nice collection to get an idea of what this software can produce.)

Water usage and collection

Tuesday, 03 June 2014 | 0 Comments

For my HSC Mathematics General 1 class, we are currently completing the Focus Study FSPe1CEC Water usage and collection.

In this topic, students interpret information, make comparisons, and perform a range of calculations in relation to personal water usage.

These are some of the resources I have put together:

Lesson 1: Leaky Faucet by Dan Meyer

calculate the amount of water that could be saved by initiating changes to household water use

Lesson 2: Rainfall

collect and interpret data and calculate statistics on local rainfall
construct and interpret rainfall graphs 

Students used data available from the Bureau of Meteorology to collect and analyse data about rainfall in the local area.
See 02 Rainfall.docx and 02 Rainfall.xlsx in the resources. These instructions are for the area near my school, obviously you would change this to better suit your area.

Lesson 3: Water Tanks

calculate the volume of water held by tanks of various shapes and sizes 

The capacity of water tanks available from a hardware chain and a water tank manufacturer are calculated.

Lesson 4: Household Water Bill

interpret information about a household’s water usage, eg a household water bill

Using a copy of my own household water bill (with personal details redacted) 04 Water Bill.docx, we answered some straight forward questions.

Then, using facts from Sydney Water, Water use in Sydney and How much do different appliance use?, we discussed and calculated (roughly) our own personal usage and whether my household usage was reasonable.

The resources for Lessons 2 to 4 can be found here:

These resources may also suit General 2, FSRe1 Water availability and usage.

Draw a diagram

Monday, 02 June 2014 | 0 Comments

Cheap prices on self-inking stamps landed me these:

two stamps draw a diagram, show working

Solving Equations Booklet

Sunday, 11 May 2014 | 0 Comments

These are resources I developed for a Year 9 5.1* class.

(What is not shown in these resources is not all of the conceptual steps I took with this class.)

Preview of solving equations bookletA booklet of scaffolded worksheets.

An electronic worksheet (Excel) on one-step equations. Shows instant feedback to students.

Preview of solving equationsAnother electronic worksheet on two-step equations - scaffolded and shows instant feedback to students.

*a class where students are continuing to work towards the achievement of outcomes from Years 7 and 8

Continue to all entries from May 2014

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Simon Job — ninth year of teaching maths in a public high school in Western Sydney, Australia.
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