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Thursday, March 31, 2005

Our Wiki Textbook

OK folks, here's another tool to help us ..... our very own Wiki Textbook!

You'll notice a new link to our Wiki Textbook in the [Links] list over there on the right. A wiki is basically a website that anyone can edit. In many wikis you have to be a registered user to participate. Some people worry that by allowing everyone on the internet to edit their content that spammers, roaches and miscreants will vandalize the site. That's possible. What's more likely is that an interested global community will work together to create something excellent! Also, the wiki records every version that has been or ever will be published so if someone comes to our house and makes a mess we can easily clean it up. ;-) Watch this to see what I mean.

Our wiki is open to everyone. The benefit to registering is that every time you contribute to the wiki your name is recorded as a contributor. If you want me to register you just email me and I will. Check out our wiki and let me know what you think.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

The Coin of the Realm: Comments Please

We're on spring break until April 4th. This week I decided to start another blog; one for my personal growth as a teacher. At first I thought I would avoid mentioning it here as I had hoped to participate in an extended discussion with other teachers in the edublogosphere. There's a whole side to education that students are unaware of: the planning, crafting, learning side of being a teacher. But the more I think about it the more I feel I could learn a lot by hearing from you, my students. So, if you're interested, you can find my new blog here.

Those of you that have created your own posts and have had others comment on them understand the title of this post. There's a viceral excitement that comes from having someone comment on something that you wrote. It's encouraging and motivating to keep blogging when someone else takes the time out to share their thoughts. Those of you that have blogged with Mr. Kaminsky over at the GCHS Math Blog know that it's even more encouraging when a person you don't know leaves you a comment.

We also know that our blog is getting fairly widely read. We've got regular visitors from British Columbia, Alberta, Georgia and Michigan to name just a few. I'm going to address this next bit to them:

You folks also probably understand the title of this post. I know that I would love to read your thoughts about this blog. I know my students would too. If you come across a post that any of us have made that stikes you in some way, please leave the poster a comment.

Take your time; think about it; no pressure.

I think that's the "next level" in our journey. To have the involvement of a larger, global community. My students and I can only benefit from your collective wisdom in myriad ways. I think we would all be encouraged to write more thoughtful posts, to make sure our spelling and grammar stay sharp, and most importantly, dialogue with other people. To the math teachers out there just think of the excitement you could generate in a young person but discussing math with them! Is there any greater joy?

The Coin of the Realm: Comments Please?

Monday, March 21, 2005

Bonus For Bloggers!

As a bonus for those of you blogging tonight I just wanted to let you know that on the test tomorrow the last page is a list of all the identities we've learned similar to the one on our Companion Review Site. You'll be able to just rip it off the test and use it as a reference throughout. This means you should focus your studies tonight on PRACTICING APPLICATIONS of the identities; don't worry about memorizing anything. ;-)

More practice here (answers), here (click on [Calculus Book 1] --> [Functions and Geometry] --> [Trigonometry]) and here.

To get good a this sort of work you have to practice .... it's all just a question of identity .... ;-)

Thursday, March 17, 2005

The Coin Has Been Found!

At 12:20 pm Thursday, March 17, 2005 the coin was found by Ms. Kozoriz in a locker on the 2nd floor in the southwest corner of the building. Congratulations to the Science Team! (Kozoriz, Ottenbright and Wiste) The coin was an Israeli half-sheckel. The hunt lasted 3 days, 23 hours and 50 minutes. Over $100 was raised for young Leah's communication device. We had over 100 participants this year! Thanks to everyone who played we hope you had a great time!

Some interesting anecdotes from this year's coin hunt:

  • Mrs. Armstrong actually opened the locker 41 minutes earlier, but she had used "techniques not available to students."
  • Mr. Ottenbright, who spent every spare period looking for the coin, was heard to ask: "Are the periods getting shorter?"
  • Just before the clues were released on π Day, Mr. Beaumont was heard to say: "I'll have this solved in 30 minutes."
  • Mrs. Zaporzan and Mrs. Silva were found hunting through the ledges of the memorial alcove "looking for the coin!"
Share any other anecdotes you may have about the goings on during the coin hunt using the [comments] link below.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Some Online Help

Here is a short, 5 question, true or false quiz on identities taken from another ThinkQuest.

Some more online trig quizzes can be found here. It's an excellent review broken up into three sections: (1) Definitions of Trigonometric Functions; (2) Values of Functions in the First Quadrant and (3) Trigonometric Identities.

Here you'll find a preview of what we'll be studying on Friday, solving trigonometric equations, with a short 5 question quiz at the end. More of the same here.

PS Did you find it yet?
Someone will tomorrow ....
new hints on the walls and monitors .... ;-)

Thinking About Identities

Here is a great little ThinkQuest on how to solve trig identities. They have some excellent worked examples of quite challenging identites followed by some identities for you to prove. If you've been finding this unit difficult the students that built this site also did an excellent job of explaining what to look for in solving identities and how to go about it.

After looking at the trig identities ThinkQuest you might be interested in making one of your own. It's challenging and takes a lot ot time and energy. But, if you're interested talk to me about it. You might be interested in looking through the ThinkQuest Library for more inspiration or lots of good educational websites made by students for students.

Coin Hunt Update!
A number of hints have been posted around school and on the announcement monitors to help you solve the last few riddles and find the coin .... Remember, it's a race! The first person or team to find the coin wins the pizza party!

Happy Coin Hunting!

Sunday, March 13, 2005

π Day!

It's finally here! It's π Day tomorrow. Mmmmmm ..... that Pi(e) looks good .... and yet .... I can't help this feeling I have that something is not quite right about it ..... can you put your finger on it? ;-)

Tomorrow also begins the 1st Annual Mystery Coin Hunt! All players can pick up their clue packages in the MPR at 12:30 pm. Who will be the first to find it? How long will it take them? Will they share their pizza? ;-)

Boy, who ever imagined a Monday could be so exciting?!?

Somewhere on the property of DMCI a coin has been hidden. Hidden so carefully and cleverly that it cannot be discovered by chance or simply by looking for it. On March 14, π Day, the coin's location will be revealed buried in a series of riddles and puzzles. Until it is discovered the coin's location will remain a mystery....

Thursday, March 10, 2005

An Identities Tool

This web tool can help you solve some identities. If you're having trouble with any of your homework try typing one side of the identity you're working on into this tool. It's really kind of neat! It "talks" to you. Slowing explaining and illustrating each step of how it is thinking about the problem.

There are a few caveats you should know before you use it though:

  • It only has 25 identities in its database; there exist considerably more. Especially when you throw in all the corrolories we can derive.
  • It will only accept monomials as denominators in rational expressions.
  • Human beings are infinitely creative and prone to sparks of insight; gifts that computers will never have.
You can also find more help here.

Have Fun!

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Why Study Trigonometry?

This is very cool! They won the Oscar for math! Trigonometry no less!!

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Audioblogging: Pros and Cons

Listen to the audioblog below for a Blogging Prompt, but mainly because it's cool! ;-)

this is an audio post - click to play

Friday, March 04, 2005

Looking Ahead....NUMB3RS

Looking ahead to Monday, we'll be studying some practical applications of the sine and cosine functions.

This site has some good visual examples of what we'll be looking at. Scroll down past the guy on the bike and click on the little purple button; it'll show you a neat animation of what we'll be looking at.

Also, sin(c)e it's Friday don't forget to watch NUMB3RS. The show is becoming so popular, one fellow has even started a blog about it!

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Where Have We Heard This Before?

It's not my habit to make two posts in one night, but I just read this and couldn't pass up the opportunity. The site is called Common Errors in College Math and I was immediately attracted to the link Student Shyness, which reads like this:
a common error is that of not asking questions.

When your teacher says something that you don't understand, don't be shy about asking; that's why you're in class! If you've been listening but not understanding, then your question is not a "stupid question." Moreover, you probably aren't alone in your lack of understanding -- there are probably a dozen other students in your classroom who are confused about precisely the same point, and are even more shy and inarticulate than you. Think of yourself as their spokesperson; you'll be doing them all a favor if you ask your question. You'll also be doing your teacher a favor -- your teacher doesn't always know which points have been explained clearly enough and which points have not; your questions provide the feedback that your teacher needs.

If you think your teacher may have made a mistake on the chalkboard, you'd be doing the whole class a favor by asking about it. (To save face, just in case the error is your own, formulate it as a question rather than a statement. For instance, instead of saying "that 5 should be a 7", you can ask "should that 5 be a 7?")

And try to ask your question as soon as possible after it comes up. Don't wait until the very end of the example, or until the end of class. As a teacher, I hate it when class has ended and students are leaving the room and some student comes up to me and says "shouldn't that 5 have been a 7?" Then I say "Yes, you're right, but I wish you had asked about it out sooner. Now all your classmates have an error in the notes that they took in class, and they may have trouble deciphering their notes later."

Sound familiar? ;-)

Absolutely Rational....Hungry for π

Some sites to play with:

Try this to play around with rational functions, just like we did in class today. The applet will transform the graph of 1/x using a vertical stretch (A), horizontal shift (B) and vertical shift (C); 3 parameters. It'll show you the graph and then ask you to guess the values of A, B and C; graph your guess and if you're wrong ask you to guess again...very cool!

This GIZMO (Andrew shared one of these with us a little while back) will give you a chance to play around with different parabolas and then see what effects different applications of the absolute value function will have on the graph....also very cool!
Note: You can only use one GIZMO once per day for free. Don't log off the GIZMO site until you're really done playing with it. ;-)

This is here because I just can't stop thinking about π Day....getting hungry....

Tuesday, March 01, 2005


Check out this site. Try playing around with the choices of Graph Type and Function Type (even, odd, neither). See if you can figure out what the essential difference is in distinguishing which functions are Even, Odd, or Neither.

One idea to keep in mind here (and while recalling our work on reflections and inverses) is symmetry. There are many types of symmetry. Can you identify the kinds of symmetry that exist in the transformations we've been studying: reflections, inverses, even functions, odd functions?

Sometimes we come across symmetry by accident...

Somtimes by design...