Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Gridiron Glory -- "The Big Game" Data Analysis Paper Football Project

I have heard that Americans like Football. I have also heard about an important game that happens in February. I have heard that it's a day that nachos dread. In this 21st Century Math Project, students will investigate this cultural phenomenon in the best possible way (with data!)

Buckle your chin strap, here comes math in your face and
there is no such thing as unnecessary roughness in my class
Name: Gridiron Glory
Suggested Grade Level: 7-12 (assignments are aimed at a variety of age groups)
Math Concepts: Data Analysis, Regression and Expected Value
Interdisciplinary Connections: Sports, Advertising
Teaching Duration: 3-5 Days (can be modified)
Cost: $8 for a 21 Page PDF (1 project, 4 assignment and answer keys) 

PDF Version: Gridiron Glory @ TPT

The Product: Students use expected value to guide their decision making in a Paper Football Tournament.

I realized when I first started teaching that students liked three things. Food, Sports and telling the Teacher about all the drama in the school. Luckily I liked food, sports and hearing about all the drama in the school. Actually that's a lie -- my class was a drama free zone. 

Huh? Food! What?
Since I know a number of teachers would be interested in hosting a Paper Football Tournament, I decided to write preliminary assignments for a wide range of learners. All of them could be used in high school, but some would be review. The assignments break down like this:

-- “Bragging Rights”. This assignment is designed more toward middle school students, but can be used for high school review. Students will analyze Super Bowl data to determine which divisions have historically had the most success. They will compute Winning Percentage and construct a bar graph and a pie graph. 

-- “Super Sunday LX”. This assignment is geared more toward students with algebra skills. Students will use historical television data to create lines of best to predict the future. This assignment would work best on TI graphing calculators. This also shows the limits of linear models because the Commercial Cost linear model has serious limitation. 

Great. Even though I don't care about
that icky football stuff, I can learn
about T-tests! That's rigorous!
-- “Super Sunday Predictions”. This is an advanced statistics assignment that will require calculations of Mean, Standard Deviation, Variance and beginning level usage of a T-Test. Students will analyze Points For and Points Against of Super Bowl Winners and Losers to see if there is a significant difference between the means (this is what the T-Test is for). If there is a significant difference, then that could be used to predict the winner of the next Super Bowl. Find out!

-- “Training Camp”. This is a preliminary assignment to the grand finale a Paper Football Championship Tournament! Students will measure their Paper Football skills with a variety of tasks. With the results of the assignment, students will need to calculate their expected value. At the end they will use these four expected values to calculate their “Paper Football Rating”.
I should be teaching next door, but
I really want to play in the Paper
Football Tournament

-- "Paper Football Championship Tournament".  Each game should have two students playing the roles of referee and statisticians. These students should receive the “Drive Log” and mark attempts for further statistical analysis and keep score. The essential question with the Paper Football Championship is "does the Expected Value “Paper Football Ratings” predict who the winner of the tournament will be?" 

You can go as crazy with this as you’d like. If you want students to have team names and coaches, go for it. If you want a prize or a trophy, go for it. You can become the best teacher of all time.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Choose Your Own Adventure vs. STEM-ersion vs. Both

Alright Math Friends!

I have launched two new worksheet concepts that will cover ordinary topics, but they will have their own unique flairs! You can download both for free. Please vote in the poll on the right. The one that has more interest I will probably run with!

Click Me First!

Noooo! Me first!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Choose Your Own Adventure -- Would you want more?

Here's a link to one of my latest brainstorms. I have to decide if I'm going to make a bunch of them. If any of you have a chance to take a look, let me know what you think! Thanks!


January is setting up to be a big month with a lot of uploads. Stay Tuned! :-)

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

A Chart for your 21st Century Math Projects!

I have experimented with different ways to make my 21st Century Math Projects more searchable and clear. Although a title like "Cost of Smoking" is descriptive of the interdisciplinary content, it isn't clear what topics are being taught. I have tried to make a Common Core alignment chart, but now with 80 projects that became too much to see visually. I have mapped each project to the CCSS on the TPT.

You can click on all the images to be brought directly to the pages with the previews and standards mappings! I hope this is useful!

Alternatively, you can follow this link: 21st Century Math Projects by Subject where you can download at your leisure. Happy Holidays!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Holly Jolly Trig -- Pythagorean Math Project

What happens if Santa has an untimely hamstring injury just days before the big night? Chaos. Utter chaos. In this 21st Century Math Project, students will plan and accommodate Santa so Christmas doesn't get cancelled.

Name: Holly Jolly Trig
Don't be a cotton-headed ninnymuggins!
Suggested Grade Level: 7-12 (Geometry skills)
Math Concepts: Pythagorean Theorem and Distance
Interdisciplinary Connections: Distance, Engineering
Teaching Duration: 3-4 Days (can be modified)
Cost: $5 for a 19 Page PDF (1 project, 2 assignment and answer keys) 
PDF Version: Holly Jolly Trig @ TPT

The Product: Students use longitude and latitude coordinates to estimate distance of Santa's route

What kind of online math lesson plan writer would I be if I didn't have a Santa/hamstring injury in my repertoire? A cotton-headed ninnymuggins. That's what I'd be. So let me shout from the mountain tops that I am not a cotton-headed ninnymuggins.

The assignments break down like this:

-- In “Chimney Dilemmas” students will interpret ladder application problems and use the Pythagorean Theorem to solve for missing variables and make decisions.

-- In “The Workshop” students will engage in some higher order thinking to develop strategies for solving applied problems.

-- In “Twas the Night” student will use Latitude and Longitude coordinates and the Pythagorean Theorem to estimate the distance between cities.

-- In “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” students will calculate a total of 21 different Pythagorean Theorem problems so it might work better in partners or small groups.

-- In “The List” students will try to minimize the length of the entire trip. This is some rudimentary graph theory. There are many possible answers, but only one lowest possible version.

-- In “Dashing Through the Snow” students will sketch their final route for Santa on a map of the West Coast of North America.

Most importantly let 21st Century Math ProjectHoliday Cheer be sung load for all to hear! Math it up. Keep it real. Peace!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

21st Century Math Projects Goes to Hong Kong

Greetings loyal readers!

I have a great opportunity to present at an education leadership conference and visit a school in Hong Kong! I'll be mostly off the grid until Monday the 12th so hold all those questions til I get back :-)

Monday, September 23, 2013

Bringing Global Issues into the Classroom

Hey all! Today we have a special follow-up to an early blog post. Lisa Glenn from New Global Citizens has stopped by with a guest spot! New Global Citizens is a great way to connect classrooms or small groups internationally! So without further ado...

Bringing Global Issues into the Classroom

By: Lisa Glenn, New Global Citizens Program of Director

75% of hiring managers agree students who understand other countries and cultures will be more successful than those who do not (2012 Education Exploration Survey).

Fortunately, we know that students love to learn about other countries and cultures. But considering the amount of time it takes to develop resources for the classroom, it can be near to impossible. Even the most basic resources must align to Common Core, meet district and state scopes or school requirements and be a “good fit” for individual student needs. Again, this can be near to impossible when also considering the time it takes to do research on global issues, determine how to implement these issues within existing curriculum, and create brand new lesson plans.

Or so it was.

After providing a free afterschool program with student resources to explore global issues for five years, New Global Citizens now offers teacher curriculum and professional development resources that help teachers use the lens of global issues within the scope of existing requirements and curricula.

Ok, great, but why does this matter to a math teacher? Because increasing exposure to global issues within traditional subject areas, such as math or science, is just plain “good teaching,” and NGC is here to help! In the 2013-2014 school year, NGC will be releasing STEM curriculum and resources for teachers who would like to increase exposure to global issues within the science or math classroom, in addition to NGC’s existing humanities curriculum.

Now, instead of simply teaching graphing, students can learn first about the spread of epidemics within the population, and then learn graphing skills by using current data points from international sources, which will give students a clearer picture of both the global issue and the importance of graphing skills in the real world. This depth of learning is important because it moves our students from skill mastery by completing rote tasks to skill mastery by real-world application.

But just knowing about global issues is not enough to make students successful global citizens. Students must take that knowledge and put it into action. This is where New Global Citizens’ successful after school advocacy work really comes into play.

Students using NGC curriculum can take what they have learned about epidemics and partner with an NGC Global Project to advocate for change around their chosen epidemic. So, instead of taking that graph that they made, handing it in, and completing the lesson, students can publish and continue to use the deliverable that they created for advocacy around global epidemics.

Imagine students creating a polished graph and then tweeting it out in support of an organization like Hlomelikusasa, an NGO that supports orphans and vulnerable children left behind by the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Students could also create a multimedia presentation to explain the effects of the epidemic on the affected region to present to local leaders or community members. Students can even raise funds to support the work of a Global Partner, and as a result develop budgeting and planning skills.

By adding advocacy to global issues curriculum, students can see their classroom learning is immediately connected to existing efforts for change in the global community.  

For more information on how to get involved with New Global Citizens, visit our site or email Lisa Glenn, Director of Program, at lisa@newglobalcitizens.org

Saturday, August 17, 2013

TPT Sitewide Sale Starts Sunday!

We are back to School, the Mothership TPT is putting on a sitewide sale which I am so-totally-participating-in. You will need to use the Promo Code BTS13. While the site sale is only a two-day sale (August 18th and 19th), I have put all of my stuff in the 21st Century Math Projects Store on sale for an extra two days after. Everything can be had for 28% off, with the exception of the whole store which will be 21.25% off

If you are not already a "Follower" over on the site, become one! So... yeah... don't buy anything today, but you can load your cart up!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

CSI: Algebra Second Edition Now LIVE

If you have downloaded an Electronic Book that looks like this ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Please go redownload it! (There is a SURPRISE IN THE ZIP FILE)

What I realized now that I'm most of the way through my 4 CSI book is that I've gotten a lot better at certain things. CSI: Algebra was my first born and he deserved the same treatment all of my new babies have received so I went through a upgraded every single page. More color. More pictures. Reordered problems. Adjusted answer choices. Better tables. More alignment. You name it. I did it. 

Redownloading is free. Just visit your "My Purchases" tab on TPT redownload it! Get your surprise project and have a much better file! 

Get the Interactive & Customizable Version of CSI: Algebra at NextLesson.org

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Business Valuation for Sharks -- Shark Tank Inspired Financial Literacy Project

Bringing the Entrepreneurial Spirit to your Classroom!
I might only watch one TV show. So what? It's the coolest show on the planet -- Shark Tank! This 21st Century Math Project takes students on an entrepreneurial journey that will help them understand some of the basics of small business finance.

It was also the landslide winner in next 21st Century Math Project Poll!

Name: Business Valuation for Sharks
Suggested Grade Level: 6-12
Math Concepts: Proportion, Percent and Data Analysis
Interdisciplinary Connections: Business, Financial Literacy, Accounting, Finance
Teaching Duration: 5-7 Days (can be modified)
Cost: $6 for a 22 Page PDF (3 assignment and answer keys) 

The Product:  Students will create a small business plan or invention that you will pitch to a panel of Sharks in hopes that you get an investment (your grade depends on it!) They will be putting their knowledge of
Can I just show Shark Tank and pass
out on my desk? Answer = Probably Not
equity, revenue projections and valuation to the test all built around their own creation.

Although I've never taken a business or finance class, I think the last two years of watching Shark Tank have taught me more than I could have learned in a classroom. Watching the show has shown me what top executives find important in business, what types of numbers they are interested in and which types of products garner more interest from them.

While it would be impossible to cover all of these skill in a single math project, I've laid the foundation for students to grab onto some key financial terms and I've applied authentic math at each turn. Proportions, Percents and Analyzing Data Trends jump into the deep waters with this math project inspired by the popular TV show Shark Tank. Students learn some basic fundamentals of owning their own business while they learn foundational finance terms such as equity, value, EBIT and multiplier.

Hey! Don't talk bad about the Common
Core. I'm just starting to figure it out.
Bring the creativity into the math classroom! Bring the entrepreneurs. Educators don't believe our students have enough opportunities to be creative. Business leaders complain young workers aren't creative. You can't turn on the internet without seeing a story about another high school dropout who started a business and made 19 bajillion dollars. How are we supposed to work on creative? Hmmm... how about... let them be creative.

While the Common Core standards are all well and good (and this is mapped to them!), the words Common and Core don't quite lend themselves well to creativity.

In all it is four different assignments --

-- “Equity Share”. Students will compute proportions to determine equity.

-- “Valuation Station”. Students will be introduced to a basic accounting formula EBIT which is one method

You mean... I might actually learn
something that I would in college?
to compute a company’s valuation. Students will be introduced to the concept of a multiplier and will calculate valuations.

-- “Revenue Forecast”.  Students will analyze data to look for trends and project future income. They will
combine this skill with the EBIT skill from the previous activity and will analyze multipliers of related companies to estimate a multiplier for their own.

-- “Swimming with the Sharks”. Students will create a small business plan or invention that you will pitch to a panel of Sharks in hopes that you get an investment (your grade depends on it!) They will be putting their knowledge of equity, revenue projections and valuation to the test all built around their own creation.

Let a student run with a good idea. Encourage their creativity!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Zombie Apocalypse -- Life Saving STEM Project / Safety Plan

It's inevitable. One day Zombies will take over Earth. If you are not preparing your students, you are being irresponsible. If you want to turn your "dead" exponential and logarithm unit into an "undead" one, this 21st Century Math Project might work for you.
Name: Zombie Apocalypse
Suggested Grade Level: 9-12 (Algebra 2 skills)
Math Concepts: Exponential Functions, Logarithmic Functions, Modeling, Predicting, Inverses
Interdisciplinary Connections: Surviving a Zombie Apocalypse, Report Writing
Teaching Duration: 1-2 Days (can be modified)
Cost: $6 for a 18 Page PDF (3 assignment and answer keys) 

The Product: Students will use data from the assignment to formulate an Action Plan for the United Nations Center for Disease Control.

Turn your Algebra 2 or Pre-Calculus into a forum for United Nations research and development. Specifically focusing on exponential and logarithmic functions, students will be given the notes of a renown scientist who herself has become a zombie. They must make sense of the notes before they too succumb to
Sweet. I'll start digging my shelter now.
the virus. Students will practice evaluating, modeling, analyzing and inverting these functions.

Lets not kid ourselves, there's about 12 different Zombie TV shows on right now. Someone must be watching them. I'm not a Zombie-junky myself, but I think it's a nice way to model some exponential functions.

In this 18 page document you will be given a mapping to the Content Standards, an outline for how to implement the project, handout resources for students to use, and an answer key. In all it is three different assignments --

-- "Zombie Apocalypse" will have students (or teams) answer the exponential function and logarithm questions and develop mathematical models and make predictions. Using regression functions on TI-Graphing Calculators or Excel is necessary. This
And everyone thought I was a zombie, ha!
should take approximately 1 class period. Along the way they will explore inverse exponential and logarithmic functions

-- “Outbreak”. In this task, half of your class will turn into zombies while the other have tries to cure them... or else they will become Zombies too.

-- “Z-Day”. Asks students to use exponential decay models to determine when the Zombie population is controlled.

Okay... Zombies aren't really my thing,
but I can see how this might apply to
other Earth-threatening Epidemics
Students (or teams) will create a report to the United Nations in which they design an Action Plan, Procedures for an Antidote and Suggestions for future safeguards.

As far as authentic math extensions could go, perhaps students can look at student attendance data around flu season (or exam season) and see if there's any exponential growth there :-)

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

CSI: Algebra 2 / Pre-Calculus is Complete!!

And approved by Ben Franklin!
Nearly completing the high school curriculum, CSI Algebra 2 / PreCalculus is underway and will be complete by mid-July! 

Of course each unit can be purchased separately or you could save some cash and buy the whole eBook when it is finally available! 

For those 
unfamiliar with my CSI puzzles, I take a unit of math material, select a different world region and create a fictional crime spree with clues (aligned to the Common Core, hurray!)

When it is all together, here's what you will find. 

EDIT: (IT'S DONE! Here's a link to the new CSI: Algebra 2 / PreCalculus eBook)

Unit 1: Matrices (Washington, DC)  
Unit 2: Families of Functions (West Africa)
Unit 3: Radical Functions (Pacific Northwest)
Unit 4: Polynomial Functions (UAE)
Unit 5: Rational Functions (Central America)
Unit 6: Exponential & Logarithmic Functions (East Asia)
Unit 7: Advanced Trigonometry (Greece)
Unit 8: Conic Sections (Russia)
Unit 9: Series (New York City) 

Math it Up.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

CSI Pre-Algebra is Now Live!

Coming to an Electronic Teacher Resource
Store Near You!
CSI: Pre-Algebra has arrived. I've been asked by a number of lower grades teacher about making something for them. It is nearly ready to go so be prepared to defend the world against the world conquering device! So here it is!

Each unit can be purchased separately or you could save some cash and buy the whole eBook! 

For those unfamilar with my CSI puzzles, I take a unit of math material, select a different world region and create a fictional crime spree with clues (aligned to the Common Core, hurray!)

HERE IT IS: The CSI Pre-Algebra eBook
You can now get the Interactive & Customizable Version of CSI Pre-Algebra @ NextLesson.org

When it is all together, here's what you will find.

Unit 1: Order of Operations & Expressions (South America) 
Unit 2: Factors, Primes & Multiples (Middle East) 
Unit 3: Equations & Inequalities (Europe)
Unit 4: Decimals (Oceania)
Unit 5: Exponents, Roots & Scientific Notation (East Asia)
Unit 6: Fractions (Central America)
Unit 7: Ratio, Proportion & Percent (Africa)
Unit 8: Coordinate Plane (Antarctica)
Unit 9: Data Analysis & Probability (North America)

Monday, June 17, 2013

The Entire Store is Now on Dropbox

The Entire Store is Now too big for TPT!!!! I keep adding too much stuff! The file will no longer load so I have had to resort to one of my favorite applications! Dropbox! 

If you are unfamiliar with Dropbox it is a way you can share files on multiple computers. For instance if you have a laptop and desktop if you install Dropbox, you can put files in the folder then open and edit them on each computer. It’s great for work and home. It’s great for collaborative work.

One of the features is that when you update files, it updates for you automatically. So when I tweak a file (I tweak a lot) it will automatically update on your computer and you never need to worry about redownloading files again.

Just follow these steps and you will be off and running.
1.      Email me at cclark0416@gmail.com
a.  In the email tell me you have purchased the store, and send me your TPT user name so I can verify it. If you do not hear from me within 24 hours, resend me an email. I’m usually very responsive.
2.      Visit Dropbox.com and Create an Account. You can download Dropbox for your personal computer.

3.      I will send you an Invitation to the Folder and voila, you will access to all of the files forever!

Of course email me if you have any questions at all or suggestions for product improvement or special requests.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Become a TPT Follower to Receive...

a giveaway offer tomorrow! You have a couple hours to do so, I'll be send it out. If you miss this one, don't fret. I'll do it periodically :-) (EDIT: Apparently TPT holds the mail for a couple days :-) It's coming sometime, I promise!)

I will be given to a cool person
Click the "Follow Me" at this link: Click Me!!! Click Me!!!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Equation Boot Camp -- Differentiated Equation Solving Practice Assignments

Drill Sergeant Voice Optional!
Although this isn't a math project, Equation Boot Camp reinforces one of the most important math skills of all -- solving equations. Some basics just can't be replaced!

At times, I was frustrated teaching more challenging equations when it was obvious many in the class needed extra help on easier stuff. I developed this idea of an Equation Boot Camp to reinforce those skills, but allowing others to accelerate on their own!

Typically I teach Solving Equations in October and I used this in the Spring as remediation and enrichment. In my class, I also assign grades based on mastery so if students demonstrates this skill, then I improve their scores from the beginning of the year.

Students will take a Pre-Assessment and will be assigned a level. Each level is thematically tied with a rank in the Army. So while the Levels of the algebra get more challenging, they achieve a higher rank in the army.

After students master a level, they are signed off and promoted to the next level. Students intrinsically strive to get up a level and are innately curious about the next one.

There are 9 main levels of problems, thus 9 practice assignments included. For each level 2 mastery tests are included for a total of 18. Over 200 problems included overall!

When I do this I devote 3-5 days in class of small group practice, targeted instruction, and mastery testing. It's Boot Camp after all! You could just as easily use these assignments for homework or classwork without the Boot Camp experience.

An answer guide is included for all practice assignments and mastery tests. The total page count on the file is 28.

Unlike the majority of the items in my store, this is not a math project.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Person Puzzles Go CRAZY!

Find Person Puzzles Here!
While they are not math projects, a collection of Person Puzzles was my own personal project!

Person Puzzles are designed to highlight individuals with diverse backgrounds who have made significant contributions to our world. In my experience, our students are underexposed and unaware of many significant (historical or current) figures and this is an easy way a math teacher can throw some interdisciplinary content without sacrificing their math!

Students enjoy the person puzzles because they innately like figuring out these types of mysteries and enjoy learning about someone interesting and different! I typically use Person Puzzles as timed warm-ups which allows me to share a little about the person's background before my daily lesson. I can also drop some college readiness info like majors, degrees and careers!

While some have a hard time admitting it, American curriculum is pretty much completely westernized. Much of the world (outside of Europe) is ignored. Even the little that is shared about other cultures is usually from an orientalist, stereotyped point-of-view.

Defeat orientalism and integrate content with a Person Puzzle! You can find the entire eBook (20% off buying them all separately right here: Click me)

Order of Operations -- Cesar Chavez
Distribution -- Aung San Suu Kyi
Combining Like Terms -- W.E.B. Du Bois
Equations One-Step -- David Robinson
Equations Two-Step -- Jane Goodall
Equations (Variables on Both Sides) -- John Herrington
Solving Equations with Fractions -- Harvey Milk
Solving Equations with Decimals -- Bethany Hamilton
Solving Multi-Step Equations -- Bernard Kouchner
Domain and Range with Functions -- Helen Keller
Calculating Slope -- Fauja Singh
Rewriting Equations in Slope Intercept Form -- Babe Didrikson Zaharias
Point and Slope -- Andrei Sakharov
Linear Equations with Two Points -- Eleanor Roosevelt
Absolute Value Equations -- Jim Henson
Solving Inequalities -- William Kamkwamba
Compound Inequalities -- Tawakel Karman
Systems of Equations (Substitution) -- Maya Angelou
Systems of Equations (Elimination) -- Nelson Mandela
Systems of Equations (Mixed Up) -- Roberto Clemente
Adding & Subtracting Polynomials -- Eva Peron
Multiplying Monomials -- Irena Sendler
Diving Monomials & Negative Exponents -- Wangari Maathai
Multiplying Binomials (FOIL) -- Pat Tillman
Factoring with GCF -- Jaime Escalante
Factoring by Grouping -- Septima Poinsette Clark
Factoring -- Mother Teresa
Factoring with ax^2 -- Muhammad Yunus
Quadratic Formula -- Grace Hopper
Simplifying Radical Expressions -- Somaly Mam
Multiplying Radicals -- Malala Yousafzai
Solving Equations with Radicals -- Stephen Hawking

Monday, April 15, 2013

Make Sure you Redownload Updated Files!

Hello Math Friends!

I want to send you a note to let you know literally EVERY file in my store has been updated. Everything has been aligned to the Common Core Standards. Lots of tables have been adjusted. Files have been improved. Lots of nips and tucks have been made. Be sure to revisit TPT to download new files to replace your old ones.

To do this…

You can download the updates by clicking on your My Purchases Tab.  There is a pull down bar and you can select "Recently Revised". Right below the Download Button “Newly Revised Re-Download"  will be blinking.  You will be able to download it again for free with the updates by clicking on the words “newly revised re-download".

I like to tinker and tweak so thing may get updated every once in a while.

Thank you so much for supporting my work and I hope the projects have been helpful!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Cool Website Spotlight -- New Global Citizens

To conclude my series of cool websites with an emphasis on global connections, I end with one that encourages students to put their knowledge to use and take action on an issue. New Global Citizens.

New Global Citizens is a United States based non-profit that aims to give middle school and high school students a global perspective and provide avenues to take action on an issue. They believe that through empowering students to become agents of change that they are in fact equipping a New Global Citizen. New Global Citizens serves as a middleman to facilitate global partnership with service agencies on the ground around the world. As opposed to seeking out a direct partnership with an international organization (which is difficult) that line of communication is open and ready for a classroom to engage in the work. For instance, New Global Citizens have a partnership with the Nyaka AIDS Orphan Project which serves children in Uganda. Teachers and student leaders, would “lead a team” to educate others about the issue, increase global awareness and raise money for a cause that helps others around the world. 
How would I use this in my math classroom? I suppose whenever fundraising occurs money and accounting are not far behind. Asking students to keep cost and revenue records lends to systems of equations and projecting future costs or revenue connects with modeling, patterns and regression. Whenever money is involved, math is not far behind. 

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Cool Website Spotlight -- Skype in the Classroom

Skype in the Classroom is an extension of the popular mainstream internet based communication tool. Currently nearly 50,000 teachers and 2,400 lessons are available on Skype and with a little something for all content areas. Collaborations can connect a classroom from St. Louis to Hong Kong with little effort. A testimonial of third grade teacher shares who she has brought her classroom to China, Italy, New Zealand, Brazil, England, Albania, Israel and India with a few clicks and messages between international teachers. Famous people from the Secretary of State to famed basketball player Shaquille O’Neal have also taken part in Skype in the Classroom lessons.

In addition their catalogue of teaching resources, teachers can arrange “Mystery Skypes” with a classroom around the world. Through interacting, asking and answering questions students are asked to figure out where in the world they are and learn about another culture.

How would I use this in the math classroom? There is a wonderful collection of resources for each content area. With more careful exploration, perhaps I can find a lesson that fits into what I'm doing. The idea of connecting with a "sister" classroom across the world that is doing similar things is also very intriguing and can better connect students to the world around them!

Monday, April 8, 2013

The 21st Century Math Project Philosophy

Many people have asked for some advice to develop their own 21st Century Math Projects so I thought I'd
Check out some stuff!
try to articulate what I try to do to help with your own project planning!

I believe that three key elements need to be in place for a super strong math project or lesson. Real World Authenticity, Mathematical Rigor and 21st Century Swagg. If there is a hearty balance of these three things in my experience that's when I bring the learning to the next level. A traditional classroom would fall into the Mathematical Rigor category, but lacks Real World Relevancy or 21st Century Swagg. 

Having students design a car on a computer, without a solid math foundation (or for an appropriate grade level) is a prime example of Real World Authenticity absent Mathematical Rigor or 21st Century Swagg. 
21st Century Swagg Personified!

A lack of 21st Century Swagg may be the product of using a blurry ditto from 1981. Presentation matters. The look of the assignment matters. Humor, if possible, matters. Student interest matters! I can't count how many problems I use from textbooks that start with "In 1991". Most of my students this year were born in 1998. While what happened in 1991 may be important, there are also important things that happened in 2011 that textbook companies just can't keep up with.

Of course there is not necessarily an Authentic Real World project for each math topic you teach. That doesn't mean it's impossible to make one. You just may need to up the dosage of Mathematical Rigor or 21st Century Swagg. My popular CSI projects are examples of this. With the engaging CSI puzzle solving framework (extra 21st Century Swagg) and Mathematical Rigor, a project for any topic is possible. Of course there are Authentic Real World problems in these puzzles, but perhaps nothing meaty enough to expand to a full-blown project. 

I would argue you can't do without any of these ideas. Many might say you can cut out the 21st Century Swagg. Perhaps that's possible, but if student interest isn't there, student engagement may not be. 

Real World Authenticity -- Mathematical Rigor -- 21st Century Swagg. Your might be your new bff. Or it might not be. Go make cool stuff for your kids!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

21st Century Math Projects 2013 Collection Now Live!

A money saving 10 project bundle!
A brand-new collection of 10 engaging, student approved 21st Century Math Projects that provide rigor, relevance, and cross-curricular content altogether. These are primarily aimed at Algebra 1 Geometry, Algebra II and PreCalculus content, but provide opportunities for enrichment and remediation at all levels!


I have each of these projects advertised separately. You can save time and money, and get them all in one order. Feel free to ask me any questions.

Included in this set:

Carbon Footprint: Environment-Focused STEM Project

Correlation All-Star: Sports-Based Statistic Project

CSI: Geometry – Unit 4 – Proportions & Similarity: STEM Project

Design a Zoo – Integrated Area & Perimeter Geometry Project

The Election: Political Science Math Project

The Game of Life: Financial Literacy Real World Project

Grade Point Average: Integrated Math Project

Silence the Violence: Take Action Math Project

Superhero Transformations: Hands-On STEM Project

Toothpick Bridge: Geometry STEM Project

So if you enjoy saving some money, this might be for you. It's over 50% off to get the bundle instead of purchasing each separately!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Cool Website Spotlight -- ePals Global Community

To continue with the theme of globally connected learning opportunities, today I highlight another interesting site, ePals Global Community.

ePals Global Community is a site to help build connections across the globe. Teachers are able to post ads for the type of partnership they are interested in and what age-level they serve. While most collaboration efforts have specific goals (such as a student art exchange), many teachers are looking to develop pen pal relationships for their students. These interactions are also safely housed through the ePals site as opposed to direct communication to ensure safety and privacy. ePals also boasts a catalogue of engaging, globally relevant classroom resources that teachers can use for free.

How would I use this in the math classroom? This one may be more literacy focused, but if students develop relationships across the globe, perhaps they share similar math experiences.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Cool Website Spotlight -- Flat Stanley Project

In a previous entry, I highlighted iEARN as a useful tool to connect your students to the world. Online collaboration networks are not just for high school students, but many sites exist for elementary aged student collaboration. Although the type of collaboration does look different than the high school, students are able to interact in a meaningful way. For example, the Flat Stanley Project focuses on literacy and intercultural interactions. 

After reading the book, Flat Stanley, students are asked to make their own versions of the character Flat Stanley. Students are then required to keep a journal detailing his adventures. As opposed to a first person interaction, early educators believe that the third person focus improves the quality of the writing and encourages the creative of their students as opposed to the traditional first person approach. The student’s Flat Stanley character and journal will then be sent to a pen pal or classroom somewhere around the world where another student will receive it. This student is asked to treat Flat Stanley and similarly document his travels. On the Flat Stanley Project website, students can track the travels of their own Flat Stanley. A similar project, Monster Exchange features a comparable theme and focus on reading and literacy.
How would I use this in a math classroom? If you are going to do it, tracking Flat Stanley's journey and calculating miles traveled could be interesting. Perhaps extending it to suppose that the student was going to take the trip themselves... how much would it cost? This is more geared toward late elementary grades / early middle grades, but could be an interesting cross curricular, cross cultural collaboration. 

Saturday, March 30, 2013


Redesign is probably too strong of a term. I added a row of tabs! This will help keep things better organized the math projects by content and make it more easily searchable. Not that you wouldn't want to re-read every single entry -- well actually no human would ever want to do that.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Cool Website Spotlight -- iEARN

With the click of a mouse students can interact with a classroom on the other side of the world. With a simple Facebook friend search, anyone can connect with people from every country on the planet. We live in an era of ubiquitous opportunities to collaborate globally -- the challenge is actually doing it. Schools desire for students to learn more about the world than just a culture’s food, landmarks and holidays. Though the experience will differ greatly for each student, a typical K-12 Education may involve more orientalist viewpoints influenced by western culture. This is a by-product of community values, teacher education, time and resources, improvement can be made in all areas.

iEARN (International Education and Resource Network) is one of the largest global collaboration networks that is specifically designed for students and teachers. More than 130 countries and over 30,000 schools are connected with each other through this online platform. According to their website they estimate that 2,000,000 students each day are engaged in collaboration projects. These projects are hosted and promoted through iEARN and allows students and teachers to engage in the same work while in different parts of the world. In my opinion, the projects that are developed on iEARN are more geared toward young grade levels and the humanities. They foster classroom connections for things such as student art exchanges, poetry sharing and community gardening.  IEARN is also geared toward professionally developing teachers who wish to integrate online work in their classroom. Through online workshops teachers develop capacity to engage in global collaboration opportunities while improve their own personal global competence. 

How would I use this in my math classroom? Connecting with a math teacher around the world is a very cool idea and I'm exploring how it could be useful in a team teaching model. I believe there is also value in students seeing that similar concepts are taught all around the world.