Diigo Links (weekly)

The Teacher’s Guide to project based learning
This is another very thorough guide to teachers on how to construct Project Based Learning. Are these guides all saying the same thing?

How Not to Be Misled by the Jobs Report – NYTimes.com
The graphics in this page make it mandatory usage for class when discussing confidence intervals. MANDATORY. It is terrific.

Curriculum Inspirations  Mathematical Association of America
10 great strategies for success in math (and success on the MAA math competitions) from the MAA. There are essays and curriculum “bursts” all linked to from this page.

Math Mama Writes…: Using Math to Describe Gravity (from Playing With Math)
Another good idea for quadratic math modeling.

Educational Leadership: The Case For and Against Homework
A good, well researched article on the pros and cons of assigning homework in general. There is a lot in this article and is well worth the time to read.

From the NCSSM again. Algebra 2 specific modeling resources and modules for engaging learners.

There is enough material in these different stats institutes to fill several years worth of classes. Don’t rebuild the wheel, it is built for you!

Advanced Functions and Modeling Lesson Resources by Topic
NCSSM modeling lessons. Lots of great material here, and far more than I can digest in one sitting.

http://math.berkeley.edu/~wu/order5.pdf
An interesting article about the nonsense that is sometimes taught in school as mathematics. It isn’t really math, but teachers add it to the curriculum anyway.
Comments
Comment from Glenn
Time 25 May, 2014 at 9:50 am
I agree, but teachers SHOULD be adding relevant modeling problems into the curriculum. This modeling idea of using gravity as a quadratic fits with the CCSS in several places so is perfect to be used as a modeling exercise, and modeling is one GIANT standard in the CCSS.
After, isn’t every quadratic just the product of two lines (either in the real or complex plane) with either convenient or inconvenient axes locations? Why not use something like this to hammer home that idea and model the real world while simultaneously hitting all the standards that need to be taught?
Comment from Sue VanHattum
Time 25 May, 2014 at 10:11 am
My two separate comments look like one. You said teachers were adding the order of operations to the curriculum, and I was disagreeing with that.
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>isn’t every quadratic just the product of two lines…?
Hmm, I guess, but I don’t see it in any deep way.
Comment from Glenn
Time 25 May, 2014 at 10:46 am
Sue, I disagree. I think teachers add to the curriculum all the time. “FOIL” is a great example of something some teachers will spend days on, and them claim that they have not enough time to teach multiplication of polynomials instead of binomials. I think we, as teachers, do this often.
Nixthetricks.com is full of examples where teachers are spending time adding things to the curriculum, and I have been guilty of it as well. It takes a conscious effort to focus on the mathematics (distribution) instead of the trick (foil).
The “quadratic as product of two lines” becomes interesting when you extend it. For example, If I ask you to write the cubic that goes through three colinear points, you can just write the three lines that have the same zero g(x)=(xh)(xk)(xl) and then shift that cubic up by the original function that created the colinear points. f(x) = g(x) + ax+b.
Honestly, I think this gets to a fundamental idea of every polynomial function. A polynomial function is any function that can be decomposed into a set of linear functions through adding, subtracting or multiplying.
https://www.desmos.com/calculator/uqpkqvvega
I have been toying with this for a while. I think it creates some interesting approaches to polynomial functions and definitely shines a light on why we start with lines and need to master linear functions.
Comment from Sue VanHattum
Time 25 May, 2014 at 11:35 am
Glenn, I hope you’re right, on teachers’ freedom to choose these topics.
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I am fascinated by your cubic example, but I don’t quite get it. Could you explain: Given the collinear points (1,2), (2,5), and (3,8), how do I create a cubic through them?
Comment from Sue VanHattum
Time 25 May, 2014 at 11:41 am
Now I get it! (The desmos page said it just a bit differently.) I use the xcoordinates to build a cubic that has those as xintercepts. Then I add the equation of the line through the points. Nice!
Comment from Glenn
Time 25 May, 2014 at 4:09 pm
Yes. It is a very interesting and completely different way of thinking about translations and intercepts. It also means that EVERY polynomial is nothing more than a product and sum of lines.
What is completely amazing is that if you think of translations this way, there is is no reason why the “k” must be a constant. now you can “translate” a sine function or or cubic by any other function as well. I have an example with a sine function in the desmos file.
What do you think, does this example deserve it’s own writeup?
Comment from Sue VanHattum
Time 25 May, 2014 at 6:18 pm
Absolutely! And I’m not yet seeing what you’re saying about sine. I’m pretty sure you don’t mean the usual translations.
Comment from Sue VanHattum
Time 25 May, 2014 at 8:48 am
Glad you liked my gravity piece.
>…teachers add it to the curriculum …
Usually it’s not teachers deciding the curriculum.