Thursday, March 29, 2012

Water Park Project

I've finished up with my 8th grade curriculum, and so it's time to start reviewing for our state test.  With two weeks left until Spring Break, I wasn't quite ready to hit the test practice yet, and I was thrilled when I stumbled across this Water Park Project.  The project allowed me to review slope, midpoints, the distance formula, proportional relationships, slope-intercept form, and solving systems of linear equations in one assignment!  I've even treated the project as a real job assignment by doing "foreman checks" to see if they had met their deadlines for finishing each task. 

I purchased a flip chart that was actually large sheets of graph paper from the office supply store, and the kids loved that they were like giant post-its.




We finally finished up with the final designs and reflection assignment today, so I wanted to show off their finished projects.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Super 10!

I am consistently trying to find ways to reward my students for hard work.  For years, I have used homework passes for meeting long-term goals.  This year, I wanted something to reward my students for more short-term, mainly weekly, goals.  I came up with  "Super 10" pass.  Students can use it to add 10 points to any assignment.  Believe it or not, this has been a source of great excitement, especially with the boys, who love the passes because they have a super hero on them. 

I have also included one super 10 in the Lucky Numbers drawing prizes this week!  I'm always glad when I can get them excited to meet a goal.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

When the lights go out...

Today we started off with no lights!  There was a blown breaker on the high school side of our building (we're a school within a school), and I was the lucky teacher that had no working emergency lights.  Thankfully, I had set up a space in the hallway between the lockers as a gigantic coordinate plane earlier in the year.  I split my 7th grade class into five groups, and we practiced graphing lines in slope-intercept form.  It had been a little while since we had practiced slope-intercept form, so this was the perfect time to review with the state test coming up. 

The huge coordinate plane I made with painters tape!

I use a small dry erase board to write the equations so the kids can see them.

I would call a group to come up and would show them an equation.  Then, they would work together to graph the line on the coordinate plane, using their bodies as the points!  Amazingly, this activity held their attention for about thirty minutes. 

They were starting to get restless, so since we had just been studying statistical displays, I had an impromptu survey about their favorite things about spring.  Then we talked about which of our statistical displays we could actually use.  They made some awesome circle graphs and bar graphs.

As you can see, they did a great job!  Thankfully, as they were finishing up, the power came back on!  Hopefully the last three days before break won't be near as exciting!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Temperature Box and Whisker Project

One of the topics that I teach my seventh graders is how to display data in a box-and-whisker plot and how to read them.  I have been searching for a good project to do with box-and-whisker plots for basically the last five years, and this year I came across an awesome idea!

Click on the picture to go to the file.
I literally found this activity by accident while searching on google.  I am always looking for a way for my students to collect their own data and use the math that we are studying.

First, I had my students use our school's set of ipods to find the average high temperatures for two cities of their choice.  They love using the ipods, so this was the perfect chance to use them.


Then students organized their data into a rough draft of a box-and-whisker plot.   

When they were finished with their rough drafts, they came to me and got colored bulletin board paper (instead of poster board).  They used yard sticks to make their box-and-whisker plots, since they were such a large scale.


I think that their end product turned out great!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Anchor Charts... Middle School Style

I had been seeing all kinds of amazing anchor charts all over Pinterest, and I started thinking that they would be perfect for my classroom.  Unfortunately, when I tried to draw anything by hand on posterboard, it was a total fail.  That was when I turned to my computer skills.  I have been very happy with the results, especially because my principal had my posters printed  12x18 at Office Depot! 

The best part is that my students have actually been using them!  Our favorite is the pink Linear Functions poster, it definitely turned out the best.  I was so glad to finally fill up my "word wall" so it could stop being a blank abyss.  All my posters are available at my TpT store.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Pi Day Pi Day

Today was Pi Day!  On Monday, I announced to my kiddos that we would be having a celebration.  I challenged them to memorize as many digits of pi as possible for our "Pi Bee" and I told them that if they decorated a t-shirt for Pi Day and wore it, I would give them a free homework pass.  We had a blast today!  Each class had their own Pi Bee and I think almost everyone memorized at least ten digits (including me).

I started the day off with my seventh grade homeroom.  Last year, I wrote a Pi Day activity involving Oatmeal pies, which I used to review several different topics using the digits of pi and facts the kids found out about the oatmeal pie.  
You can download this activity at my TpT store.
Because I had my eighth graders as seventh graders, I decided not to use the same Pi Day oatmeal pie activity and wrote a brand new one geared more toward their standards of learning.  I looked up the menu for a local pizzeria and used that info to create a great review.  Once they finished the pizzeria math, they got to use an Moon Pie to do some discovery and calculations - you can tell from the pictures how much they loved this.

Down this activity at my TpT store (click the picture)
 My last period seventh graders had the privilege of being in my room at 1:59:26.  On Fridays they have a countdown to 2:00 and the chant "Friday Friday", so I suggested that today we countdown until 1:59:26 and chanted "Pi Day Pi Day"!  Very exciting!  In addition to the oatmeal pie activity I did with my homeroom seventh graders, I also had this class make a pie graph to represent how often each of the digits occurs in the first 100 digits of pi since we had just studied circle graphs this week.

All in all, a very fun Pi Day!

Moon Pie Math

Moon Pie Math

Oatmeal Pie Math

Happy about Pi!

Pi Day shirt!

Oatmeal Pie fun!

Oatmeal Pie Math

Working together

Enjoying Oatmeal Pies

Pi Day shirts

Pi Day Shirts

Enjoying Moon Pies