Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

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.

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.

27
Aug
09

First Week of School

Emergency Brain Dump:

So I’m back to school again, taking and teaching classes.  I’m a little sad that this will probably be my last year of college for awhile (but not THAT sad… lol).  If anybody who checks this out isn’t aware, I’m hoping to finish my Master’s talk in September, which means I could graduate in December.  Depending on the job market though, I may stick around for the Spring semester also.

This semester, I’m teaching MA 111, Contemporary Mathematics.  Today we learned about preference ballots and preference schedules by filling out ballots ranking ice cream flavors, sports, reading materials, etc. and then grouping up to tabulate the results in a preference table.  I haven’t had that much fun in a class in quite awhile!  Especially since I managed to forget the scissors and got to watch my students try to tear their ballots apart.  =)  So I think this class will be a really fun one to teach, but I’m also a little unnerved.  I have spent the last several semesters teaching a heavily coordinated course, and now there are almost no preset expectations (other than having an exam here and there).  Who knew freedom could be so daunting?  If anyone has any good voting theory resources, I’d love to see them.

As for my classes, I listened to some sage advice from my Math & Tech cult leader, and I’m taking a couple of Stats classes.  I haven’t taken any of these since community college – so it’s a bit of an adventure.  One of them is even a huge lecture class… my biggest class the past two years has been 15 people!  Anyhow, I’m pretty excited about these classes, just because I think I’m ready for a bit of a change of pace from the usual grad math classes.  Who knows, maybe I’ll change my major and stick around for another decade?!?!  (Just kidding, Mom!)

I’ve also started using Microsoft OneNote (comes with Office 2007) and my Wacom Bamboo USB Tablet to take my lecture notes in class.  It’s working really well so far, though I’m having a bit of trouble getting the “Tags” function to tag and highlight exactly what I want.  But my handwriting is getting better on the tablet, and I’m thrilled that I can drag things from the internet (like syllabi and powerpoints from my teachers’ websites) into OneNote and then write all over them.  It also has the best auto save I’ve ever seen!

And as a general interest aside – I aparently have a giant head.  I knew it was on the big side, but it didn’t feel truly giant until I tried to order a roller derby helmet… I think someone should do a study of the average head size of American adults, so I can know if my cranium is really catastrophically huge (or if they just make helmets smallish).

Brain Dump Complete.

19
Aug
09

Blogging for Education and Sleep

After attending the 2009 Math and Technology Conference at Muskegon Community College last week, my head is so full of ideas that I can’t sleep!  The guru of the week, Maria Andersen, recommended blogging as a way to empty an overloaded brain.  And so here I am.

It’s my goal to use this blog as a forum and record of ideas pertaining to teaching and learning math – and other interesting tidbits as time allows.  Hopefully it will be a reference for myself, my students, and anyone else who is inspired to read it.  Please feel free to share ideas, comments, interesting resources and the occasional joke.

Thanks!