Saturday, September 9, 2017

Types of Math Questions


My new co-teacher came up with three reasons students get stuck in math.

Students say something like, "I don't get it,"  and what we think they mean is that they don't understand one of the following --  vocabulary, procedure or concept.

For Vocabulary issue,  they might ask "What does ___ mean?"

For Procedure issue,  they might ask "How do we ___?"

For Concept issue,  they might ask ...???

What would a Concept issue-question be? This is where we are stuck, and where I'm looking for help. My thinking is that if a bunch of thoughtful teachers send us the questions their students ask, we can sort them and determine two things - (1) if our three categories are adequate and (2) which of those questions might best be categorized as a "concept" questions.

So tell us, What questions do your students ask in math class?

Do those questions fall into one of our categories? Is there a category we're missing? What does it sound like when a student has a Concept question?

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Group Roles

I started group roles in my freshmen Algebra class.
Students were incredibly engaged in choosing their unique role in the group, and have been taking ownership of their jobs.

Our roles:

Time Keeper
Resource Manager
Eagle Eyes

Saturday, February 11, 2017


I just finished watching the documentary 13th and am trying to take what I learned back to my students. I quickly made an Average Rate of Change example to spark conversation with my students about the exploding prison population in the US over the past decade. I'm posting it here (word doc from Google Drive download)  for others who might want to incorporate socially conscious math in their classrooms.

This is my draft of what will work for my students. If you have modifications, extensions or accommodations to add, please feel free to - and please let me know about it !

Text for editing:

The documentary “13th” discusses the aftermath of the 13th amendment, and a specific clause that applies to criminals. The film cites prision population statistics from 1970  to 2014 to support their claims. Consider the statistics from the film below and answer the questions that follow.

US Prison Population

1.     What is the average rate of change of the prison population from 1970 to 1980?

2.     What is the average rate of change of the prison population from 1980 to 1990?

3.     What is the average rate of change of the prison population from 1990 to 2000?

4.     What is the average rate of change of the prison population from 2000 to 2014?

5.     What do your answers to the questions above tell you about the US prision population over the past 50 years?

6.     The movie opens with Obama saying the following.
·       5% of the world’s population is American
·       25% of the world’s prision population is Amcrican

What does this make you think about the prison population in America verses the rest of the world? How does this make you feel?