Author Archive for Megan Robertson

17
Nov
09

Contemporary Math Projects

We started presenting projects today in Contemporary Math.  I was a little concerned because I’d been intentionally vague with the assignment, hoping for creative projects, but possibly opening myself up to some serious slacking.  But I was really impressed by the work my students did!  Their projects ranged from posters and scrapbooks to PowerPoint presentations and music videos.  There were even a lot of goodies from those who decided to do baking projects (and as their math instructor, I felt it was my duty to sample these).

If I had to give out creativity awards for the projects presented today, I think I’d have to go with:

Section 001 went to the sports folks.  I had great videos by Bryan McGraw on how Heisman Trophy selection relates to voting theory and Maddalina Poliendrio on tennis and physics.  Both contained great clips and explanations.

Section 002 was a three-way tie between David Banks’ graph theory approach to bank robbery, Ben Ashby’s video about the cost of eating out vs. cooking, and Catherine Brereton’s music video on the cost of feeding picky kids (with a surprise appearance by her criminal cat).

And I enjoyed all of the goodies, but I think the “Fabulous Diet Killer” award has to go to Amanda Powell, who used math (and a bit of experimentation) to convert her grandmother’s cake recipe from pinches and jiggers to cups and teaspoons.  I could have eaten the whole thing and died a happy woman!

I think I can already say that my students have made this project a success – and we still have one more day to go!

Brain Dump Complete.

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05
Nov
09

How to Study for a Math Test

Maria Andersen, a friend and colleague of mine had her class discuss and research “How to Study for a Math Test.”  They presented their results on a website.  This site includes general note taking ideas, study strategies, and tips for managing test anxiety.  I would strongly suggest checking it out and passing it on to anyone you know who is taking a math class.

Brain Dump complete.

04
Nov
09

MA 111 Project

MA 111 – 001 & 002
Project Proposal

Choose an area or topic in your own life where math is used, and plan to find out more about it.  How does it really work?  What math is involved?  Who created it?  How long has it been around?  What don’t most people realize about it?  Etc.  Then decide how you might like to present this information.  Try your hand at a music video.  Make a mock news show, interviewing an expert (or a friend willing to act as an expert).  Write and illustrate a children’s book.  A mind map that organizes references and interesting activities you found on the internet.  A recording of a piece of music you wrote.  Please note: research papers will not be accepted!

Now, summarize your topic idea(s), the questions you want to ask, and the way or ways you want to present this information.  Think of it like a sketch of a later painting.  Your proposal is due at the end of class today.  Your project will be due on or before Tuesday, 11/17/09.

26
Oct
09

Exam 2 Review Posted

I want to apologize to my MA 111 students for the delay in posting the Exam 2 Review.  Getting all of the graphics up and in the right place was driving me crazy!  But finally, what you’ve all been waiting for (drumroll please):

https://meganrobertson.wordpress.com/classes/ma111/exam-review/exam-2-review/

Brain Dump Complete.

07
Oct
09

Things You Never Think You’ll Do…

So yesterday I gave a lecture to my math class about plagiarism.  Frankly, this was a topic I’d never even pondered having to talk about – being a math teacher and all, I don’t assign papers very often (actually this was the first one I’ve ever assigned).  We talked about  what is and isn’t plagiarism as well as the penalties in place for those who are caught.  Since the assignment was only worth 10 points, I just gave a grade of zero to those who (intentionally or not) plagiarized their work, and won’t be taking it any farther than that.  However, I truly hope that the discussion we had in class will stick with my students throughout their college careers.

Incidentally, if any students read this, remember that your instructors use Google too.

Here is a video I found on http://tlt.its.psu.edu/video-highlights/new-video-about-plagiarism, that does a pretty good job of simplifying how students can include others’ ideas without plagiarizing (and it’s kind of funny):

I suppose, as teachers, we need to remember that much of the teaching we do is not necessarily restricted to our subject area.  And while it seems strange to approach a topic like plagiarism in a mathematics class, it’s better to get the discussion out of the way early on in students’ stay at the university.  After all, I think it is possible, likely even, that some of my students didn’t realize what they were doing was wrong.  After all they were not required to have a works cited page, which doesn’t mean you can take someone else’s work without credit, but could have been confusing.  So hopefully this experience will keep them out of trouble in future classes.

Brain Dump complete.

04
Sep
09

Animoto Voting Theory Video

Here is my latest project.  Of course, I should be grading things, but this was WAY more fun!  For those of you who haven’t checked out Animoto, you should totally do it.  It’s really easy to upload your images (and Office 2007 will let you export Power Point slides as JPEG files now), choose a song and tell Animoto to make you a sweet video.  As far as I can tell, I don’t seem to be able to move the videos to my screencast account or anywhere else, but they have extensive sharing options.

Anyhow, I made this video for my Intro to Contemporary Math students to review their voting methods.

[clearspring_widget title=”Animoto.com” wid=”46928cc51133af17″ pid=”4aa1695bb6856935″ width=”432″ height=”240″ domain=”widgets.clearspring.com”]

Feel free to use the video for educational purposes only.  If you like the music, make sure to check out Darkest Days.

Brain Dump complete.

28
Aug
09

One Note Wonders

Still fascinated with OneNote, though I’d give my kingdom for MathType to work inside it.  I’ve been making my equations in Word and pasting them as pictures.  This works okay, but is kind of a pain.  However, you can make the text in images searchable (somehow… I found a button but haven’t pushed it yet – I’ll let you know how it works out), so maybe this will be okay in a pinch.

Incidentally, I created a neato 2009-2010 academic calendar for OneNote notebooks.  You can download it from my Screencast site by clicking the image below.

2009-2010 Academic Calendar

2009-2010 Academic Calendar

Brain Dump Complete.