Monday, September 21, 2009

Final Posting for Blog Project

Our first projects are due tonight at midnight. I thought it would be appropriate to sum up what I've gotten from our class so far. I must admit I am not that computer savvy and really was quite intimidated by the whole idea of having my own blog, but I have become comfortable with it. I'm grateful that I was forced to do one; it has helped me learn quite a lot more about technology. Whether anyone has any interest in my blog remains to be seen, but I hope that anyone who has looked at it has been able to find something useful. I know I have gained a lot of useful knowledge from the process.
So here's a re-cap of my frist two weeks of class and what I've learned...
In chapter one we concentrated on problem solving, this has always been my weak point, but I'm improving. We learned Polya's Problem Solving Strategy. There are four parts to his strategy:
1. Understand the problem. (play aroung with it.)
2. Devise a plan. ( Make a drawing, a table, a model, guess and check, or maybe work backwards. There are a lot of different ways to approach this. It all depends on what you are most comfortable with and how you learn.)
3. Carry out your plan.
4. Look back over the problem and your answer. (Is your answer reasonable?)
We also covered using patterns for problem solving and solving problems using algebra. I realize now that I have been using algebra for many years and it is not as horrific as I have made it out to be.
In chapter two we worked on Venn diagrams. These can be very complex. We created our own and voted on the best. Unfortunately, I am not very witty and mine wasn't worth any extra credit , we had some very clever people in our class. I really liked the Michigan weather/MCC parking situation diagram. When dicussing Venn diagrams we learned about set, elements, sub-sets,compliments and relations.
- The set is a group of something.
- An element is an individual piece of a set.
- A sub-set is a related group within a set.
- The compliment is any outside of a set.
- A relation is 2 sets with some sort of correspondence.
Functions and deductive reasoning are also covered in chapter 3. A function is a relation where each element of the first set corresponds to exactly one element of the second set. I was able to put this new knowledge to good use. My oldest son is currently taking Algebra 2 in high school. He is just now learning about functions and I was able to explain them a little differently from what he learned in class. It was helpful to us both.
I really enjoyed the logic and reasoning part of this chapter, I love the puzzles and I hope that when I teach I will be able to introduce lots of fun ways for kids to learn math. I think it's important for it to be fun to learn. Maybe math won't get such a bad rap.
Click here for some fun ideas.

Weekend Fun

Hi, Happy Monday to everyone!

I hope that everyone has had a great weekend.I've had lots of fun experiences since my last blog. Over the weekend I attended the Michigan Irish music festival. Upon arriving at the festival I purchased a MIMF commemorative glass. The glass gets you into an express lane at the beer counter and apparently if you use the refillable glass, you get two extra ounces. Well at four dollars each, you can use all the extra ounces you can get. The vendors claimed that the refillable glass will get you a full pint. It got me thinking about something I read on our blackboard site. If you check out the MathDL math in the news feed, found on the general tab of our math blackboard site, you can read a post claiming - if the last half inch of your pint glass is not full then you are getting only 85% of what you are entitled to. If you drank 6.5 glasses and the head was a half inch then you were out a four dollar beer at the end of the day. Next time skip the glass and buy the bottles.

Now back to what we are learning in our math class. We are learning about logic and deductive reasoning. We played some fun logic games during our student presentations. Here's a link to some puzzles on line. Enjoy!

Finally here's a few jokes to lighten your day!

- What did the zero say to the eight?
- Nice belt

- What do you get when you divide the circumference of a jack-o-lantern by it's diameter?
- Pumpkin Pi

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Math 105 - Wacky Wednesday

Today was alot of fun in our math class. We had two student IBL presentations. Leisha introduced us to our attribute pcs. by having us sort and classify them. We also played the secret attridute game. I liked this because it made us think and use reasoning to guess the attributes. We did this by guessing and using process of elimination.
Our second student presenter was Scott and he introduced us to the slope of a line and coordinates. Scott used the game of Battleship to have us call out coordinates. This really is an easy fun way to introduce graphing coordinates. After we sank his battleship, he asked us to figure out a slope of a line that woukld sink two given ships. If you are a visiual person like me, you can appreciate this type of instruction. The same goes for Leisha's presentaion using the attribute pieces. I felt that both these presentations would connect with a class of students at many different levels.
We finished class by starting section 2.3. This section is on logic. We used puzzles to practice using logic and reasoning. We did a child's Sudoku puzzle (which I love) and we were introduced to a new type of puzzle called Paint By Number. The paint by number puzzle is a little more complicated, but I can see myself becoming addicted to these too.

Click here for some Sudoku puzzles to play online.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Yesterday in math we discussed Venn Diagrams. I was surprised at how complicated some may be. You have to really pay close attention to what is being asked.

Some of the terminology and symbols we covered were...

Sets - groupings of things

Elements - the individual pieces of the sets

Intersection - this is just the overlapping areas of the sets.

Union - this is the all the elements of all the sets.

Disjoint - this is a set or element that has nothing in common with the others.

Compliment - this is everthing not included in the set.

The following is a useful website for getting a better understanding of Venn Diagrams.

Click here for interactive Venn Diagrams.

I also found this website that allows you create your own Venn Diagram,

I hope this links are useful to you!!!!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Making Math Fun Through Football

Hi again! I hope that you Saturday has been great! The weather sure has been!

As a mom of three boys, I'm always trying to find different ways to get my sons more interested in their academics. They are really good athletes and are very involved in sports. They get good grades, but they don't seem to have the passion for learning like they do for sports. They especially don't have a desire for reading. In order to get them to read more I get them Sports Illustrated, but I really haven't thought of a bunch of ways to involve math. I guess that's partly because my boys really enjoy math and seem to get it.
Today, however, as I sat at my fourth football game this week, Wednesday, Middle School; Thursday, JV; Friday, Varsity; and Saturday, Cowboy mini mites; I thought you know there is a lot of math to be learned watching football.
I thought about what our Math professor discussed on Wednesday; we don't realize that we have been exposed to algebra and problem solving from a very early age. Who doesn't remember filling in the blanks on a math worksheet? Remember these..._ +3 = 5? I never made the connection that the x is just a symbol used in place of that blank spot. I never thought of the blank spot to be a variable. It was like a light bulb went off.
So as I sat in the stands watching our Cowboys inch their way down the field, I started asking the kids around me math questions. I asked them after a four yard run, "How much further do we need to go to get a first down." When we were on the twenty five yard line, I asked, " How many plays will we have to run if they only get five yards each run?" My boys answered each question without hesitation; and they were right! I felt pretty smug, I had them doing math and they didn't realize it.
I came home and Googled football math, I found quite a few websites. The following is fun for early elementary age. The game is called Tackle Math.

Can Dial up be any more frustrating

Can dial up be more frustrating? I doubt it, It has taken me 56 minutes to get logged into my blog!!

I've had a lot of great learning experiences this week. We learned about the Fibonacci Sequence. I found online that by definition the first two numbers of the sequence are 0 and 1. Each number following is the sum of the two previous numbers. Our text book omits the zero as do many other sources. In order to solve the pattern you add the 0 + 1 and you get the next # which is 1. If you add 1 + 1 you get the next # which is 2. I found it very interesting to see the images of this pattern found in nature.
I f you'd like to see the Fibonacci numbers in nature this is a good website I really don't remember ever hearing of the Fibonacci sequence before, but since discussing it in our math class I have heard it mentioned a few times.
We discussed it in art the other day as an example of how to use art to bridge the gap with other subjects. By using the Fibonacci sequence you can visually see the math pattern.
I found Gauss' trick to be really interesting too. I showed my sons how to solve these and they actually were interested in it. Math can actually be fun when you have a better understanding of why and how things are solved. You can find a video explaining this trick on YouTube, titled "Sum of Counting Numbers Trick."

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Why is it that I have such a hard time putting problems into math equations? I learned a lot about problem solving in chapter one, but I have the hardest time making equations from the patterns we were assigned. I have no problem seeing the patterns and coming up with the correct answers.