MTBoS Challenge 1 – Constructions & Sickness

I have a large number of guided-inquiry labs that I am quite proud of in Physics.  But I’m not teaching Physics this year – which is definitely having an effect on my motivation and happiness.  However, in between the days when despair overtakes my better senses, I’m working on doing interesting things with Algebra II and Geometry.  (note:  I just looked at the prompt and I wrote too much, but I’m leaving it all here)

Algebra II – I have a lesson and a curriculum that I am proud of, and I think they’re a nice combination of being rich but also very very real.

Credit card debt and exponential functions.  I blogged about this before and looking back it’s a lesson I’d like to do again.  It can easily be modified for exponential functions, but I really like how you can use recursion as a low entry point.

WGHAA Curriclum (actually download the AMBASSADORS curriclum from here, but it’s a huge pdf).  We took topics from Algebra II, and shoehorned those concepts into lessons about Cholera, Malaria, Influenza and Tuberculosis.  There are also matching lessons for US History and Chemistry.


Geometry – this is my first year teaching Geometry, and I just today decided that the given textbook was crap and I don’t understand why anybody would want to learn Geometry that way.  So I’m mostly going to throw out the textbook, and try to teach the class with this general sequence in mind for each topic/unit:

1)  constructions

2)  conjectures

3)  problems

4)  then proofs.

So a rich problem for that?  I keep coming back to putting a gable on a roof, so maybe I’ll make something out of that.


New Situation

I haven’t updated this blog for awhile, and since the last post many things have changed.  Here is a list:

1)  My spouse got a faculty position in Wisconsin, and we moved to near Milwaukee.

2)  I got a position teaching math (algebra II and geometry) at a local high school.

3)  We moved from Germany to Wisconsin

4)  I am now working more hours, with more students and with less pay than I ever have as a teacher.

5)  Due to big changes in the school organization, there has been almost no progress made towards common core alignment, and the math curriculum is straight out of a 2007 textbook.  I spend a lot of time thinking of ways to change the “lessons.”

6)  This isn’t new, but I feel like I’m exhausted all of the time.

I blame most (not all) or this on the current aversion to taxes and providing schools with the funding and resources to do the jobs that we are tasked to do.  Losing collective bargaining in this state is just making the abuse of teachers (and school administrators frankly – their jobs are only getting harder also) legal.  This isn’t a political argument, it’s just about the simple calculation that the pay hasn’t changed but the job has gotten way harder.

This ended up as a bit of a rant, but I wanted to get that off my chest in a public forum.

I intend to participate in the Math Twitter Blog o Sphere challenges, so look for those if you ever read this blog.