Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Puzzle Pizzazz: Volume 1

So.... when I do something from an existing idea, I usually go a little overboard.  OK, so I usually go A LOT overboard spending extra hours and trips to the copy machine to make it perfectly formatted.  This happened last night.  The ever inspiring Sarah Carter posts her weekly puzzle table puzzles and I usually spend hours recreating them to post in my room or the hallway.  I do not have extra space so all of mine must be displayed vertically.

Last Friday, Mrs. Carter posted this blog entry:

As I'm sitting in my dentists office anxiously awaiting the fixing of my 48 hour old temporary crown, I repeatedly browse Twitter to take my mind off the horrors of a doctor office visit.  Then BAMM!  @mathequalslove posts her Five Things Friday blog link.  I immediately sigh knowing this blog post will likely lead to a late night in the upcoming week while I need to create at least 50 million things from her brilliance!  Seriously though, I do not know how I would be any sort of a creative teacher without Mrs. Carter.  My undying gratitude to her for being so creative and sharing!  

Luckily, Five Things Friday only had 1 thing that was a printable activity I needed!!!  Woohoo!  My husband and furbabies might get to see me next week.  😊

And then I made the mistake of continuing to scroll.... dang doctor anxiety!  And found her Puzzle Table Post below:

Guess Jon and the fur boys can handle a late night or 12 this week?!?!  The one that intrigued me was the Double Letter Puzzles shown below.

I'm thinking it stood out because I did not figure it out in my dentist fear soaked brain.  And then I saw her statement....

"They keep insisting that it must be an obscure math or science word despite my reminding them daily that it is an everyday word."

Challenge accepted Mrs. Carter's students!  I present a series of Double Letter Puzzles with math terms.  Please do not post the answers but feel free to email me at if you have questions about the solutions.

I've created 6 puzzles, all saved in Word and PDF.  I am a font junkie so I used one of my faves on the puzzles.  You can get the Cheri font here for FREE!

Some might be pretty obvious but I also knew what I was using.  I'm all about having kids use math vocabulary. 

This might not be perfect or the exact idea/concept of the puzzle designer but I like the idea of math terms and challenging students to think logically.

But 10 minutes later.... this happened!

Download all 6 of my puzzles here for FREE.

So I again spent a late night creating goodies and running between the printer, my classroom, and the laminator.  If I had a nickel for every hour Sarah Carter has cost me.... 💗💗💗😊😊😉😉


Thursday, March 1, 2018

Exponential Function FUN with The Money Project!

Last week, on Friday, I realized I need one more major grade for this nine weeks.... and only had one week to get in a new unit and major grade!  No pressure at all.

Our next unit was Exponential functions.  Our curriculum for Math Models deviates quite a bit from Algebra 1 on Exponential Functions (which I have only taught twice before....).  While we are still going to work on the basics, they have a very finance/social science driven curriculum.  Enter: interest rates!  I have never taught them, only had students use them in a senior level course I have taught before.

So Monday when I entered the school and was in a 'hadn't had my coffee need a major grade quick' phase... one of my colleagues recommended a finance project she had.  It seriously covered almost every single TEK (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills- our state Curriculum Standards) I needed for the entire unit!

Project picked, I needed some notes.  In discussion, I learned that almost all interest is now compounded continuously as oppose to our standard Simple and Compound that I've always used.  I searched for some interactive notebook items but came up blank.  I couldn't even find a graphic that explained what exactly the e value in the Pert formula was!

I created this one and am really happy with how it came out.  My students just needed a reference for what everything is.  I was not wanting super intense notes.

Here is the entire project for FREE if you are interested.  This is courtesy my fabulous co-worker, Mrs. Shirly Boots for the original and inspiration.  I added a little more detail as I am making it a major grade and needed a clear rubric and wanted to try and add a little more detail for the students.

In the project, they will draw random amounts from me to use.  I did a variety of amounts $100-$500 and another from $5,000-$9,000.  I've included the amounts in the file as well for you.

As always, these are in both editable and PDF format because of my different font loves! 

Please let me know if you see any corrections or have anything to add.

Thank you!

Monday, February 19, 2018

Qualitative Quadratics 2

I already shared the first part of my quadratics unit and wanted to share the rest!  I will also be sharing all the activities we created for Algebra 1 that I do not cover in MMA in a later post, including vertex form, graphing using axis of symmetry, etc.  You can see the blog for the first part of quadratics here.  It also includes some polynomial stuff as it is combined with quadratics in MMA.

After we completed the attributes and solving by graphing, we completed a project with Ozobots.  Read about it in detail here.

Here is a video of the outcome of the project.

After completing the project I realized the need for more practice in graphing.  It has been an ongoing lesson in stoicism to have them graph accurately and not just sketch from the calculator!!  I used the following worksheet which you may get for FREE here.

After this we needed to cover a few more concepts.  The next we addressed was Quadratic Transformations.  I completed a foldable inspired by the Teachers Pay Teachers Activity below.

Quadratic Functions: Transformations Flippable

I would love to see any resources you might have for transformations.  This one was done before the TEKS change so the horizontal change will be added before next year.  I'll edit them for the future and link them here.

I followed it up with this assignment from Teachers Pay Teachers Algebra Accents.  Several years ago, I purchased her curriculum and found it to be worth every penny!

Quadratic Transformations Task Cards

I printed the kids 12 task cards to complete for their practice.  This was a great transformations assignment and I highly recommend the $3 investment!  It was the perfect activity for transformations!!

Then we went back to good ol' factoring!! Solving by factoring was an algebra concept that often got skipped over a little.  We were usually cramming this in right before our standardized test and just did not have a lot of time to work on it.  Since my kids already had the factoring part of it earlier, I just needed notes emphasizing the connection to quadratic solutions.  Back to the ever dependable and ah-maz-ing Mrs. Sarah Carter at Math=Love to have these available!!  

I created my own typed notes as we do a lot of fill in the blank notes to emphasize certain vocab and save writing time.  Get the word version here and the PDF here for FREE!

I broke these notes into 2 classes/presentations too.  One class we did the top and a=1 examples.  Many of my students did not complete their factoring practice assignments so I wanted to make sure they all had time and were working on this concept.  After that part of the notes I had created another Clue activity but tailored it to my class and school.  They really seemed to get a kick out of it and even high schoolers LOOOOOVVVVVEEEE their name on a worksheet!  Get the word version here and the PDF here.

This card template was adapted from this Karen Cookie Jar Post.  It is different than the factoring one I previously shared.

Next class, I presented the other 2 examples (a>1) and gave them another hidden picture activity.  I made it a little less 'intense' than last time (the factoring one) and even let one of my classes give me picture ideas.  The word version uses my new favorite free font, KG Payphone which you can download for FREE here!  You may download the Word version here and PDF here for FREE!

I mix my mystery pictures up a bit to where I try not to create a pattern that you can see in the letters!

Then here it comes..... the one... the ultimate... the one way that works for any quadratic.... the QUADRATIC FORMULA!!!  I love it, probably because I'm a math nerd but I'm gonna make 'em do it!  We sing, we sing a lot during this time!  I even have this activity for extra credit where they have to sing it to other teachers or staffers at school.  My department head and I once had a sing off heard 'round the school.

Download this here if you'd like to edit for your class.  I am of the Pop Goes the Weasel school of melody too, just so you know!  There is quite a debate on the versions, which Sarah Carter writes about on her blog here. I also used this post to create my new notes for this year.  

My students have all had Algebra 1 so the Quadratic Formula is nothing new.  I wanted to create a little different note set to make it a bit more interactive.  Enter, Sarah Carter, and we have a tangram Quadratic formula puzzle for our notes!  I'm loving these.  Since my students have already had Algebra, and likely the exact same notes, I wanted to change it up a little.  

Download these notes here and the tangram (2 per page) here.  Get the version for Algebra 1 here.

Now for practice we have used this worksheet in the past for Algebra 1.

Last year, I wanted to mix it up a little and purchased this riddle activity on Teachers Pay Teachers.  I prefer choosing activities that they have instant assessment to check their work.  Not all but many of my activities are.  I feel for students that work so hard and are doing something wrong the whole time, especially when they are at home working on it and it's something as involved as the quadratic Formula!

Quadratic Formula Riddle Time

For my students this year, I created a Mad Lib Scavenger Hunt type activity.  I will be writing about this at length later but you may download the Student WS for the activity here in Word (you will need the Jedi Font found here for FREE) or the PDF here.  The accompanying wall sheets in Word here or PDF here!  I have previously written about how I create my scavenger hunts here.  This is the same idea except they are completing a Mad Lib.  

These are a combination of methods to solve as well, not just Quadratic Formula (actually there are only 2 you have to use the Formula for but you can edit for whatever you need).  

Since these can be more than one method to solve, I created the activity for them to complete to see how both factoring and Quadratic Formula can be used.  I know there are other methods but these are the only 2 taught in Math Models.

Download it here for FREE!

Right now this is the rest of my Quadratic Unit!  This was a crazy long post but hopefully you found something you can use!  Please let me know if you see any mistakes or want to share!  I'll add the remaining resources for Algebra 1 in another blog entry.


Thursday, February 15, 2018

Ozobotting Quadratics

Previously, I wrote a blog about the impact computer science, specifically, Ozobots had made on my classroom with just a couple of days of using them.  You can find that post here.

My next challenge was to work them directly into my content.  One of the TEKS of Math Models is A.7A which is graphing and identifying the key features of a quadratic.  Also in the state of Texas, we have process standards which includes students applying a number of skills from math to life and the real world as well as using problem solving skills and methods.  I felt that these could combine well to make an Ozobots Quadratic Project for Math Models or Algebra 1!

So, I then went about deciding how to 'Ozobot' Quadratics.  I wanted to make them all easily identifiable characteristics that the Ozobot could 'mark' with color coding.  

**Teacher Tip**  We have only done a couple of days of color coding and as the project got started, I realized the students needed to do a bit more Ozobot practice with freehand coding.  The previous days we practiced with pre-printed activities and the accuracy was marked for you.  While many did play around and go beyond, they still needed to practice their precision with the color coding without a template.  As a result, many projects had correction pieces of paper taped on.  In the future, I will account and deduct for this.  Live and learn is the motto for me every time I try something new!

I created this project rubric as I was going to spend several days on it and it would be a major grade. 

I have edited it to be a bit more precise after completing the project.  You can get my revised rubric here

I also carefully selected equations that would fit on gridded chart paper and have integer solutions and axis of symmetry. The equations I used are available here.  In case you do not have the same version of Word as me, here is the PDF for you.

I had students make their axis fit the equation to utilize as much of the gridded chart paper as possible.  Some had differently scaled x and y axis and that really stretched their math comfort zone.  Talk about high level application for students so accustomed to one method or practice for completing graphing.  The first day, students randomly chose equations (I had them written on popsicle sticks that each group drew).  I had them complete a rough draft on graph paper before providing the chart paper that included their scaling and table.  

I have taught classes in the past that are project based and as a result, I know the cost of chart paper so do not give students extra! 

The first day (50 minute class periods), majority of the groups got the graph on the chart paper ready for coding.  A couple started coding... without practicing... and had to re-do.  crazy what happens when they do not follow teacher instructions, isn't it?!?!?

On the second day, when they came in, I reminded them to practice coding on scratch paper before trying on their poster.  This is a very tedious precision needed skill and requires practice just like anything we want to master.  For those of you not familiar with the Ozobots, they require color coding to perform.  Here is a student sample...

Ozobot provides a wonderful template for free on their website.  You can get it here.

I have all mine laminated with thicker lamination to be durable.

On day 2 of the project, groups began coding.  Several finished but this is a precision task and time is necessary.

Sometimes the Ozobots can be 'temperamental' so often re-calibrating or getting another one can help.  Also, tracing over the lines repeatedly or thick pencil marks can effect coding.  If a code did not work that they put on the poster I provided a small piece of white paper to put the correct code on.  They would then tape along the edges (after testing it) and apply to the chart paper where it needed to execute.  I feel that this would not have occurred as frequently with more freehand coding practice prior to the assignment, as I stated earlier.  Live and learn!  Here is a picture of a well done correction.  In the overall picture it did not really detract form the project.

And here is their completed project in action.

Unfortunately the paper placement in the above video caused Ozobot to fall at the end and they needed to re-shoot the end of the video!  I loved their enthusiasm for a correctly finished project.

Day 3 was completing, troubleshooting, filming and grading.  I used what seemed to be the most accurate at reading code Ozobot.  There were a few times that a too broad line before the vertex would have read the day before but not grading day so I would allow for re-runs of the Ozobot or me going nuts trying to figure out why.  It is really about the precision with which the lines were drawn and will be a continual learning process.

Here is an excellent finished graph with explanations along the way!

I had some excellent projects and my enthusiasm was heard by everyone!  All my poor twitter, Instagram and Facebook followers were bombarded with my excitement and exaltation for days!  If you are interested in seeing additional pictures and videos, check out my twitter @CBHSRichMath.  

I will admit that since this was my first time giving the project, I graded a little leniently but plan on being more strict in the future with adjustments.  I will definitely allow for more time to practicing coding freehand.  I already made a revised project outline and rubric with more specific directives.  I will plan 3 days instead of 2.  I will have them practice graphing quadratics once more before the project (we had only done one day prior to the project).  

Since I saw certain quadratic graphing issues after the project, I followed up with this worksheet on graphing.  

The solutions are not exact but I wanted them to practice the actual graphing and finding the vertex or 'Oreo' in the calculator.  This is also why I did not provide tables.  I also frequently have students just 'sketch' what they see on the calculator screen.... regardless of what they have been taught or verbally reminded of.

I cannot say enough about how computer science has changed my outlook on teaching math.  How critical it is to math and the real life lessons they learned when doing it.  I was asked how this relates to the math class and as I have said before, there is no more important fundamental than the order of operations.  The interviewer (ok, so it was the school newspaper but that sounded fancy!) then asked how this will benefit them in the real world.  We all need to complete steps in order to accomplish tasks.  We all need to be able to troubleshoot jobs and tasks in order to complete them.  We all need to be accurate and precise to do things correctly.  I feel Ozobots in the math classroom help with all these.  I am so excited I was able to work this important life skill into math concepts and reinforce both.

Thank you and if you see any mistakes or have anything to share, please do!


Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Qualitative Quadratics 1

I taught Algebra 1 for 10 years and am now teaching Math Models.  Much of the content is the same but being non-intial instruction, I've been able to develop some different notes and activities for Quadratics.  Below I will share my first few days of Quadratic materials from both MMA and Algebra 1.  Disclaimer.... a couple of my resources were bought from Teachers Pay Teachers but I let you know where to get them.


This year, since all my kids have already learned and applied quadratic material, I decided to create a quick accordion note foldable that had all the basics.  Inspired by the blog post here from hoppe ninja math (great name right?!?!?).

Here is the key:

Quick and easy summary and a unique note page for the students.  Get it FREE here!

The accompanying assignment I used was a modified by me version of 

Identifying the Parts of a Quadratic Functions Worksheet:

Identifying the Parts of a Quadratic Functions Worksheet

Several years ago, I purchased her whole Algebra 1 Curriculum from some grant money I earned and it has been the most amazing resource.  Her name is Marie De Los Reyes and I also receive all updates to the curriculum.  She has occasionally put it on sale, so if you are interested, keep an eye out.  It is worth EVERY. SINGLE. PENNY. regardless.

I also created a quick 4 to a page warm-up for later in the week just having them name the attributes.  It can be done as a positive or negative graph too!  

Get it for FREE here!

I followed it up with solving quadratics by graphing.  You may get the note page without t-charts here, which is how we do Algebra 1 because we are wanting them to find the vertex or 'Oreo' in the table with the calculator.  Calculator directions are for TI84s.  I am very emphatic about the pattern being an Oreo and not a hamburger!  I usually have to tell why every year to a bunch of eye rolling but nods when they realize that an Oreo is exactly symmetrical but a hamburger is not!!  You can get the one below with t-charts pre-filled here.

And here is my key.  I do not always do all examples, it depends on need and sometimes I split between days of instruction.

The assignment I completed with this was another fabulous Teachers Pay Teachers resource from Algebra Accents.  

I did the following activity, Identifying the Parts of the Quadratic Equation Matching Activity. 

Identifying the Parts of the Quadratic Equation Matching Activity

I used different colored paper to print all the attributes on and one copy of each Problem Mat.  After the notes, I gave each pair of students one of each attribute to find around the room.  My first class had a lot of absences and I quickly learned they needed the equation on each problem or they could not complete without more attributes than just the Axis of Symmetry or roots.  I put all the problems on and the kids did great!  They did use the calculator but everyone was wandering from problem to problem and working.  They would also call out to the class when they found a vertex and such.  

Every class finished for the most part and students even found mistakes and worked to fix misplaced pieces.  It was very worthwhile and I plan on using it again.  Well worth the $3 investment if you purchase it. 

In prior years, for Algebra 1 we also used this worksheet:

You may get it for FREE here!

For attributes with Algebra 1 we got a lot more detailed and used this fabulous resource developed from Carla Walters, our Instructional Specialist, now High School Math Teacher in Pearland.  

Get it for FREE here!  Last year since the great State of Texas decided to put additional transformations in, we also created one for the 'b' value of the quadratic equation.  Get it here for FREE!!

For any keys, please feel free to email me at from your school or professional account.  I've had students try and email for keys in the past but luckily their email said student! 

Thank you,