## Friday, September 30, 2011

### Friday, September 30, 2011

We began with our assessment over Slope/Rate of Change and then created the key (pdf). I reminded you that the key would be posted to the blog and that you should check your results on the portal and sign up for re-assessment if necessary (see below). I have to say, I was pretty disappointed in the results.

Then our lesson (pdf) was to look once again at some of our application problems and make sure we understand the idea of slope/rate of change, and then try to apply that to more abstract equations.

1. Check the portal for the results of your assessment, fill out your student checklist with your results, and make a plan for retake (if necessary), including making an appointment.

2. If you haven't read Fisch Food for Thought (Part 2), please take 5 minutes and read it. Thanks.

3. Watch and complete the Graphing Linear Equations Using Slope-Intercept Form video. (You know what to do, and what to write down, right?)

4. On your personal Algebra Reflective Blog, create a new post titled "Slope". In this post, tell me everything you know about slope, and everything you think someone else who was taking Algebra needs to know about slope. (Hint: this is going to be more than one sentence. A lot more. It might even include some diagrams/pictures.) This should be completed before you go to bed on Monday night (but I would highly recommend you complete it this weekend.) Make this good, the world is reading and you want to make a good impression.

## Wednesday, September 28, 2011

### Fisch Food for Thought (Part 2)

So in that previous post I talked a bit about why I don't want to be looking over your shoulder all of the time to "check up on you," and why I think the limited amount of homework I assign you is hopefully meaningful, and why it's important that you do it. In this post I want to talk a little bit about how I'll decide if I'm "successful" with you guys in this class.

I won’t think I’m a success if you get a good grade in Algebra, although I certainly hope you do and I’m going to try really hard to help you do that. I won’t think I’m a success if you score well on tests like CSAP or ACT, although I hope you do, and even though a lot of well-intentioned people think that’s how I should define success. I won’t even think I’m a success if you go to a good college and then get a good job, although I certainly want you to do that because I’d like to retire someday and I need you all to have good jobs to support me.

No, I’ll consider myself successful if you turn out to be good, kind, caring adults. If you’re a good spouse, child and parent. If you contribute to the world and to your community and help those around you. If you participate. And learn.

And here’s the deal. The education that I received was a pretty good one. But it’s not good enough for you guys. Not anymore. You see, in a rapidly changing, information abundant world, the people who are going to be successful – both professionally and personally – are the learners. And by “learners” I don’t mean people who just learn what we teach you here at AHS.

Now, I want to be clear, that doesn’t mean I don’t think you should learn what we teach you here at AHS. I don’t want you to go to your second period teacher, raise your hand, and say, “Mr. Fisch said I don’t need to learn what you’re teaching.” Please, don’t do that. That’s not at all what I’m saying. Your teachers here work very hard trying to share important, meaningful and relevant knowledge and skills.

And that’s important, but it’s not enough. Because to be successful in the 21st century you’re going to have to be a learner, you’re going to have to learn how to learn, and go after things on your own. As I talked about in the previous post, you’re going to have to be independent, curious, passionate learners, who don’t just sit back and wait for someone to tell them what they’re supposed to know, but who go out and try to figure things out for yourself. Who pursue your interests, your goals, your passions with intensity, and who actively participate in everything you do. Who go out and find other learners who are passionate about what you are passionate about and learn from them – and alongside them.

To quote myself (sorry), the world has shifted. The world of school, and the world of work, and the world in general has shifted, and so I need you to shift as well, and that’s what I’m trying to do in this class. I’m trying to get you to be actively involved in your own education, to be independent and curious learners in mathematics, even if Algebra is never going to be your favorite subject.

I believe you need the skills I’m trying to get you to learn for three main reasons.

First, to be a successful citizen in the 21st century you have to be numerate. In order to deal with all the data that is going to get thrown at you, and to make good, responsible, effective decisions, you’re going to need a lot of the skills we’re learning in Algebra. And, frankly, that’s not necessarily true about all the math classes you’ll take. Honestly, if you take Trig and Pre-Calc (typically what you'll take your senior year), the skills you learn there are very important if you go into the math and sciences, but perhaps not so much day-to-day life for most of you (some folks will disagree with that). But the skills we learn in Algebra you’ll be using every day to make sense of all that data in the world, to be informed voters and decision makers.

The second reason to learn the skills is if you decide that you are passionate about math and science, you need these skills in order to progress to more complex topics and to go deeper.

The third reason – and it’s the one I think is least important but you may think is the most important – is that right now in the short term you have to learn these skills to get a good grade in this class, to do well in school, and to get into college if that’s what you choose. So while I prefer that you focus on the first two reasons, this one is still a valid one for many of you.

So, again, I’m asking you to please, please consider what kind of future you want, not just for yourself, but for those around you, and make an effort to be as independent, as curious, as responsible, as passionate of a learner that you can be.

I just defined what I think success would look like for me in this class, what would success look like for you?

### Wednesday, September 28, 2011

We began with this incredibly-well-thought-out opener (pdf).

Then the lesson (pdf ) was to work through many of the investigations we've performed through the lens of slope-intercept form.

1. Tonight: Complete the Slope/Rate of Change Online Pre-Assessment on the Moodle. Do this tonight so, if you have any questions, you can come in during an unscheduled hour tomorrow and get some help (before the assessment on Friday).

2. Tonight and/or Thursday Night: You might consider doing a few of these problems at Cool Math for practice. Do as few - or as many - as you think you need to make sure you understand how to calculate slope from two points on a line.

Finish problems 3, 4 and 5 from the lesson (pdf ). Don't worry about #6 (yet, we'll get there). Look over problems 1, 2 and most of 3 (we got to everything except the graph) to help you with 4 and 5 - you can do this. If you need help, please come in on Thursday and get it. Take charge of your own learning.

3. Thursday Night: Prepare for the Slope/Rate of Change Assessment on Friday. There are a variety of ways to do that including, but not limited to: review the online pre-assessment; review your notebook and/or the openers and lessons posted on the blog; review the video, work some practice problems in your textbook or that you find online. You can, of course, also get help from me, another math teacher, a teacher in the Study Center, a peer tutor in the Study Center, or a parent, sibling or friend. Do whatever works best for you, but make sure you're prepared. The expectation is that you should all be able to do very well on this assessment.

## Tuesday, September 27, 2011

### Tuesday, September 27, 2011

We began with this astounding opener (pdf). Here's the column the opener referenced about texting while driving if you're interested.

1. Watch the slope video. Make sure you complete all parts, including the self-check problems. This is a critical concept in Algebra - make sure you go through this video carefully.

2. You might consider doing a few of these problems at Cool Math for practice. Do as few - or as many - as you think you need to make sure you understand how to calculate slope from two points on a line.

## Monday, September 26, 2011

### Monday, September 26, 2011

We began with our assessment over Graphing Linear Equations Using Intercepts and then created the key (pdf). I reminded you that the key would be posted to the blog and that you should check your results on the portal and sign up for re-assessment if necessary (see below).

We then spent some time trying to make "cents" of slope (lesson, pdf).

1. Check the portal for the results of your assessment, fill out your student checklist with your results, and make a plan for retake (if necessary), including making an appointment.

2. Review today's lesson (pdf). Make sure you understand the concept of slope, how you figure out slope between any two given points, where you find slope in y = mx + b, and how slope relates to what we did with recursive routines. Pay careful attention to the bottom of the first page where it lays out several ways to think about slope, and gives you a formula to calculate slope between any two points.

3. You don't have to watch this, but you might enjoy this four minute video titled I Hate Pennies! And you might be interested in this article Penny Dreadful. Then go talk to your social studies teacher and ask them what they think about whether we should still have pennies (and nickels).

## Friday, September 23, 2011

### Friday, September 23, 2011

I had to take my daughter to an appointment this morning, so Mrs. Blechschmidt kindly filled in. It was also a shortened class due to the pep assembly in the afternoon.

Today was a Carnegie Hall Day (practice, practice, practice) where you spent a lot of time reviewing how to graph a linear equation using intercepts, as well as some review over distributive property, solving equations with variables on both sides, proportions and percents, and dimensional analysis (no, I can't really run a 4.4 forty, unless it was 40 feet). If you didn't finish in class, please finish for homework this weekend (here's the key, pdf).

Your homework for the weekend is:
1. Have fun - and be safe - at all the homecoming activities.
2. Finish the review worksheet if you didn't finish in class.
3. Prepare for the Graphing Linear Equations by Using Intercepts Assessment on Monday. There are a variety of ways to do that including, but not limited to: review the online pre-assessment; review your notebook and/or the openers and lessons posted on the blog; review the video, work some practice problems in your textbook or that you find online. You can, of course, also get help from me, another math teacher, a teacher in the Study Center, a peer tutor in the Study Center, or a parent, sibling or friend. Do whatever works best for you, but make sure you're prepared. The expectation is that you should all be able to do very well on this assessment.

## Wednesday, September 21, 2011

### Wednesday, September 21, 2011

We began with this tasty opener (pdf).

We then investigated the intercept form of a linear equation through an application problem involving Mr. Fisch, exercise, and calories (lesson, pdf).

We also talked about how important it is both to have fun and to be safe, including wearing your seatbelt. Please.

1. Have fun at the bonfire. Please remember to always wear your seatbelt. And make everyone else in the car wear their seatbelt, too. Please.

2. Review the notes from the lesson (pdf).

3. Complete the Graphing Linear Equations by Using Intercepts Online Pre-Assessment on the Moodle. Our assessment will be on Monday next week, so make sure you complete this as soon as possible (preferably tonight) and, if you have questions, get them answered before Monday.

## Tuesday, September 20, 2011

### Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Today was the Homecoming Royalty Assembly, so a shortened class period.

We began with our assessment over Graphing Linear Equations Using a Table of Values and then created the key (pdf). I reminded you that the key would be posted to the blog and that you should check your results on the portal and sign up for re-assessment if necessary (see below).

Then we watched the Graphing Linear Equations by Using Intercepts video together so that I could remind you of some strategies for how to get the most out of the videos.

1. Check the portal for the results of your assessment, fill out your student checklist with your results, and make a plan for re-assessment (if necessary), including making an appointment. Please don't put this off - the sooner you come in, the better.

2. Re-watch and make sure you understand the Graphing Linear Equations by Using Intercepts video. Make sure you have the self-check problems completed and that you note any questions you have.

## Monday, September 19, 2011

### Monday, September 19, 2011

Today we began with this enchanting opener (pdf).

We finished talking about Friday's lesson by looking at and interpreting the last 3 graphs, and then had a Carnegie Hall Day (practice, practice, practice) where we spent a lot of time reviewing how to graph linear equations using a table of values, including talking about when solving for y might help us and the special cases of x = a constant and y = a constant. We also reviewed some previous topics, including distributive property, solving equations with variables on both sides, proportion and percent, and dimensional analysis (lesson, pdf).

1. Please finish the review worksheet we started in class.

2. Prepare for the Graphing Linear Equations Using a Table of Values Assessment tomorrow. There are a variety of ways to do that including, but not limited to: review the online pre-assessment; review your notebook and/or the openers and lessons posted on the blog; review the video, work some practice problems in your textbook or that you find online. You can, of course, also get help from me, another math teacher, a teacher in the Study Center, a peer tutor in the Study Center, or a parent, sibling or friend. Do whatever works best for you, but make sure you're prepared. The expectation is that you should all be able to do very well on this assessment on Tuesday.

3. If you haven't read it yet, please take five or so minutes and read the post I put up last night. Feel free to comment if you have any questions or comments to add.

## Sunday, September 18, 2011

### Fisch Food for Thought (Part I)

Many of you have probably noticed that I didn't "check" the last couple of times to make sure you had the self-check problems from the video written down. I wanted to take a few minutes and talk about that a bit.

Here's the deal. In a perfect world, I wouldn't grade homework at all. (Okay, in a perfect world, I wouldn't grade you at all, but that's a whole separate post.) To me, homework is a chance for you to learn, to ask questions, to practice, to extend your thinking a bit, and to see what you know and what you don't yet know. It's not something I want to "grade" you on; not something where I want to say, "You got this one right, this one wrong." I don't give a ton of homework (less than most typical Algebra classes I suspect), but what I do give is meaningful. I want you to do it not because you're going to get some "points" for it, but because you know that I wouldn't assign you something I didn't think was worthwhile, and that by doing what I assign it will help you understand the mathematics better.

This is why it’s critical you do the assignments I’m asking you to do, like watching the videos I’ve created for you and doing the online pre-assessments in the Moodle. Those videos and pre-assessments are designed to help you master the skills, and to become more independent learners. But they’re also designed to free up class time so that we can become more curious, active learners, in class, and so we can explore interesting (or perhaps not for some of you) applications of Algebra like the bike gear ratios or Tim Tebow’s speed at the NFL Combine or a how fast our assistant principals and media specialist were moving, or a variety of other activities we’ll be doing this year. In order to apply the skills in class, I need you to do the necessary work outside of class.

But in order for that to happen, in order for us to use our class time to be the kind of learners I think you need to be to be successful in this century, your century, I need you to step up and take care of business. I need you to watch the videos, and use them as they’re intended, and do the pre-assessments and the other things I ask you to do outside of class. And I really, really need you to participate in class, to be active learners. To ask questions, and be involved, and talk to each other, and help each other, and be willing to take risks in order to learn more, even if that makes you a little nervous or uncomfortable. I need you to do more of the talking in class about the mathematics, and me to do less. I need you to do more of the thinking, and the questioning, and the figuring out.

So I’m asking you to please, please consider what kind of future you want, not just for yourself, but for those around you, and make an effort to be as independent, as curious, as responsible, as passionate of a learner that you can be. And I promise that I’ll bring the passion every day and do the very best I can to help you become that learner.

## Friday, September 16, 2011

### Friday, September 16, 2011

Today we began with this incomparable opener (pdf). We finished talking about Wednesday's lesson and then took a little field trip to the gym hallway to collect some data to help us explore time and distance relationships (lesson, pdf).

1. Complete the Graphing Linear Equations by Using a Table Online Pre-Assessment on the Moodle. Our assessment will be on Tuesday next week, so make sure you complete this over the weekend and, if you have questions, get them answered before Tuesday.

2. Finish the remaining graphs that we didn't get to in class (see page 2 of the lesson (pdf) for the collated data for the last 3 walks). As a reminder, for each walker here are the steps I'd like you to complete:

a) Graph the walk. Time (seconds) goes on the x-axis, distance (meters) on the y-axis. I provided you with graph paper to use.

b) Calculate the walker's speed. If the speed changes at some point(s) during the walk (how can you tell?), then calculate the speed for each interval where it's different. Use the formula d = rt (distance equals rate times time; rate is another term for speed; probably easiest to divide both sides by t so that you have rate = distance divided by time, r = d/t).

c) Write out the directions you think Mr. Fisch gave the walker.

d) Repeat steps a) through c) for each walker.

e) Create your own set of walking directions (just one example, for 10 seconds) and then create the accompanying graph that would represent what that would look like if the walker was able to follow your directions exactly.

3. For your easy reference, here's the daily theme for Homecoming next week (as well as all the athletic events).

Monday – Superhero day

Tuesday – Black and white formal day, Royalty assembly 7:30 am

Wednesday – Wacky tacky day, Bonfire 7:00 pm baseball field

Thursday – Disney character day, Lunchtime activities

Friday – Spirit day, Pep assembly 1:15pm, Royalty recognized at varsity football game 7:00 pm

Saturday – Parade 10:00 am, Dance 8:00 pm-11:00 pm

## Wednesday, September 14, 2011

### Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Today we began with our assessment over Solving Equations with Variables on Both Sides and then created the key (pdf). I reminded you that the key would be posted to the blog and that you should check your results on the portal and sign up for re-assessment if necessary (see below).

We then explored graphing by using a table of values and an application problem involving recursive sequences, equations and graphing (lesson, pdf).

Tonight's homework is:
1. Check the portal for the results of your assessment, fill out your student checklist with your results, and make a plan for re-assessment (if necessary), including making an appointment. Many of you have unscheduled hours on Thursday (tomorrow) - please make an appointment and come in tomorrow if you need to re-assess (or get help and then re-assess). You can also come in during part of your lunch if necessary as the re-assessment should take only 5-7 minutes (still leaving you time to eat). Please don't put this off - the sooner you come in, the better.

2. Please finish the graph we started in class and bring it with you on Friday (it should look somewhat like this (pdf)).

3. Watch and complete the Graphing Linear Equations by Using a Table video. (You know what to do, and what to write down in your notebook and have with you on Friday, right?)

## Tuesday, September 13, 2011

### Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Today we began with this charming opener (pdf). We then learned about recursive sequences (lesson, pdf). Recursive sequences are a nice bridge between the solving of equations we just did and the graphing of equations that we are about to do.

We also spent a little bit of time talking about your digital footprint. This is a really important topic for students growing up today, so please give it some thought. Not only in terms of social issues (like what you put on Facebook and how that reflects on you), but in terms of academic and professional ones (what does the quality of your work that you post online say about you? what do you want college admission officers and employers to see?).

1. Prepare for the Solving Equations with Variables on Both Sides Assessment tomorrow. There are a variety of ways to do that including, but not limited to: review the online pre-assessment; review your notebook and/or the openers and lessons posted on the blog; review the video, work some practice problems in your textbook or that you find online. You can, of course, also get help from me, another math teacher, a teacher in the Study Center, a peer tutor in the Study Center, or a parent, sibling or friend. Do whatever works best for you, but make sure you're prepared. The expectation is that you should all be able to do very well on this assessment on Wednesday.

2. If you haven't completed it yet, do the blog post that was assigned yesterday (due by first period tomorrow).

## Monday, September 12, 2011

### Monday, September 12, 2011

Today we began with this exquisitely crafted opener (pdf). We then reviewed a bit about how to graph points on a coordinate plane and then did a bunch of review problems on distributive property, solving equations with variables on both sides, graphing on a coordinate plane, percents and dimensional analysis (lesson, pdf).

1. What is considered the Earth's x-axis? Its y-axis? What quadrant is AHS in? Please write this down in your notebook. How is the Earth different than the x-axis and y-axis on a coordinate plane that we're talking about?

2. Complete the Solving Equations with Variables on Both Sides Pre-Assessment on the Moodle.

This pre-assessment is very important and will be your best indicator of how well you'll do on the assessment on Wednesday. Please do it tonight so, if you have any difficulties, you can get some help tomorrow before the assessment on Wednesday.

3. On your personal blog, create a new blog post where you explain how you solve this equation:

3(x - 5) = -7x + 12

Don't just solve the problem (although that should be part of what you include), but explain your thought process for each step. Like your previous post, try to write this post as if you were explaining this process to someone who didn't know anything about solving equations with variables on both sides. They should be able to read your post and have a pretty decent understanding of how to approach a problem like this.

This blog post is due by first period on Wednesday, but I highly recommend you do it tonight so that, if you have difficulties (either with the blogging or the concept of solving equations), you can come in and get some help on Tuesday.

4. Optional: If you need or would like some more practice problems with solving equations with variables on both sides, check out this unlimited supply of problems (and solutions) at Coolmath or, alternatively, these at Khan Academy. Do as few or as many as you need until you feel confident in your ability to solve these types of equations. If you find that you struggle, please come in for some extra help tomorrow.

## Friday, September 9, 2011

### Friday, September 9, 2011

Today we began with this exciting opener (pdf). We then practiced solving two-step equations and explored some more complicated equations, including equations with variables on both sides (lesson, pdf).

Tonight's homework is:
1. Watch and complete the Solving Equations with Variables on Both Sides video. (You know what to do, and what to write down and have with you on Monday, right?)

## Wednesday, September 7, 2011

### Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Today we began with this brilliant opener (pdf). We then learned about solving two-step equations by "undoing" or doing the inverse operation (lesson, pdf).

Tonight's homework is:
1. Watch and complete the Solving Two-Step Equations video. By now you should know how to watch these videos effectively, and what you need to write down in your notebook. (But, if you've forgotten, please look back at previous posts to find the instructions.)

2. If there's anything you need to get caught up on, please do it. If there's anything you're struggling with, please come see me and we'll figure it out. All of you have at least one unscheduled hour tomorrow, so I expect you to come in if you need help with anything in my class.

## Tuesday, September 6, 2011

### Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Today we began with this opener (pdf). We then explored direct and inverse variation via the relationship between the number of teeth on the front and rear sprockets of the gears of a bicycle and the number of wheel revolutions per pedal rotation (lesson, pdf).

Tonight's homework is:
1. In 2005 Lance Armstrong won the Tour de France for a record seventh time. Over the course of the race, his mean (average) speed was 41.7 km/h.

a) Find his mean (average) speed in ft/sec.

b) It took him 86 hours, 15 minutes and 2 seconds to complete the Tour de France. How many feet did he go?

If you're interested in cycling, then you might be interested in these videos - The Science of Cycling (part 1, part 2, part 3).

2. If you need help with direct and inverse variation, dimensional analysis, solving one-step equations, or blog posts, please, please, please (did I mention please?) come in and get some help. You might also check out your classmates' blog posts regarding direct and inverse variation. Of the ones I've seen so far, Alison's, Chey's and Nikki's are all good.

## Friday, September 2, 2011

### Friday, September 2, 2011

Here's the opener (pdf) where we discussed how we determine how fast an object is moving and practiced some direct variations.

Our lesson (pdf) explored speed and some aspects of physics. If you're interested, here's the full clip of Rich Eisen, Tim Tebow, Jacoby Ford and others.

Your homework for this weekend (due Tuesday since Monday is Labor Day) is:
1. Organize your notebook. It should have all your openers, classwork, and homework (self-check problems, pre-assessment problems, etc.), as well as your returned assessments (Math Skills Assessment, Proportions and Percents Assessment).

2. Write a blog post on your personal blog. Title it "Direct and Inverse Variation". Then, with a combination of words and examples (or video, or audio - be creative), demonstrate your understanding of what direct and inverse variation mean. This should be an explanation that makes sense to someone that doesn't know anything about direct and inverse variation and could be used as a teaching tool in a first year algebra class. Be creative, but make sure you achieve your objective.

You can reference your notes, the openers and lessons on this blog, resources on the web, and anything else you can find to help you, but the final words and work should be uniquely yours. This should be completed before you go to bed on Monday night (and I would highly recommend at least starting it no later than Saturday so if you have questions you have time to ask). (You may need to use some mathematics notation in your post, use the option you explored for Wednesday's homework to help you create that.)