Numberless Quadratics Activity

"But Miss, these word problems don't have any numbers!"   "You're right! They're numberless word problems!"    This was the conversation with my algebra 2 students at the start of our quadratic word problems unit every year. I LOVE teaching quadratic word problems, especially because students always start super intimidated and end the unit super confident in themselves for having accomplished something big!   But the language! How long, how high, hits the ground, time in the air... these simple sounding phrases can be pretty confusing at first. To focus on what these phrases meant and what they were asking us to find, I liked to start our projectile motion unit with a numberless quadratics activity. Presenting students with word problems with no numbers forced students to look for the quadratic keywords as clues to what they were being asked to find.

"But Miss, these word problems don't have any numbers!"


"You're right! They're numberless word problems!"


Hands-on geometric transformations in the coordinate plane

In this post I share an easy, hands-on method for demonstrating reflections and rotations of geometric shapes and their coordinates in the coordinate plane. The video included in the post covers reflecting over the x-axis, over the y-axis and over the line y = x. This same method will work for reflecting over any line of symmetry in the coordinate plane, even linear equations. I then share an idea for showing geometric rotations with a hole punch.

Last week, I wrote a post about using a hole punch to find function inverses in the coordinate plane. A few people asked on Facebook if the process would also work for geometric reflections, and it absolutely does! 

In this post I share an easy, hands-on method for demonstrating reflections and rotations of geometric shapes and their coordinates in the coordinate plane. The video included in the post covers reflecting over the x-axis, over the y-axis and over the line y = x. This same method will work for reflecting over any line of symmetry in the coordinate plane, even linear equations. I then share an idea for showing geometric rotations with a hole punch.

How to find inverse functions with a hole punch

Are your algebra or algebra 2 students learning how to find inverse functions? Here's how to make the process of finding function inverses easy, visual and hands-on-- with a hole punch!

Are your algebra or algebra 2 students learning how to find inverse functions? Here's how to make the process of finding function inverses easy, visual and hands-on-- with a hole punch! This same process can also be used for reflecting any graph or geometric shape over the x-axis, y-axis, y = x or any other line of symmetry on the coordinate plane.

What the heck are fraction exponents?

Fractional exponents are a little weird. They force us to think backwards, to ask, "What number multiplied by itself yields the base?" If this questions sounds familiar, it's because we ask the same question when figuring out square roots (and other roots). In this post are 3 visual examples of rational exponents, how we can think about them and how we can evaluate them.

Fractional exponents (a.k.a. rational exponents) are a little weird. They force us to think backwards, to ask, "What number multiplied by itself yields the base?" If this questions sounds familiar, it's because we ask the same question when figuring out square roots (and other roots). Rational exponents are just another, calculator-friendly way of expressing roots.

Exponents using Visual Models (video)

Why is a number raised to the zero power equal to 1? And why do terms with negative exponents become fractions? Are we able to see this through visual models?  Yes!   In this short video, you'll see how exponents take on a pattern and can be modeled concretely with cut paper. We'll start with 3 raised to the 2nd power and work our way to 3 to the -2.

Why is a number raised to the zero power equal to 1? And why do terms with negative exponents become fractions? Are we able to see this through visual models?

Yes! 

In this short video, you'll see how exponents take on a pattern and can be modeled concretely with cut paper. We'll start with 3 raised to the 2nd power and work our way to 3 to the -2. 

Print and Digital Math Puzzles

This past week I started making some math puzzles that come print and digital form. The digital versions are drag-and-drop in GOOGLE Slides. In this post I want to show you the math puzzles that cover adding fractions, adding 2-digit decimals and adding integers. These fun math puzzles make for engaging classwork, station activities, partner work and review.

My daughter and I recently worked on a 550-piece puzzle, which took us just under a week to complete. We worked on it on the floor a bit each day after school, hiding it from the cats each night. It had been over 20 years since I had worked on a puzzle that was more than 30 pieces (kid puzzles), so it surprised me how much we both enjoyed it. Figuring out where the pieces went was relaxing and enjoyable, and I could feel it exercising my brain in ways that it doesn't usually exercise.

Working on that puzzle with my daughter got me thinking about making puzzles, so this past week I started making some math puzzle sets that cover various curriculum topics. Students can work on these math puzzles as classwork, in centers, with a partner or as a review activity. In this post, I want to show you a few of these new math puzzles.

Practice Makes Better poster

I made this Practice Makes Better poster to help students remember that working hard and getting better is more important than being perfect.

Perfect is so overrated. Practicing to get better is a much more attainable goal and so much less intimidating. I made this Practice Makes Better poster to help students remember that working hard and getting better is more important than being perfect.