Is Complaining a Part of Problem Solving?

Sep 30, 2014 by

I like to argue on Twitter; perhaps more so than is acceptable by many of the more positive individuals out there. Regardless of how often I find opportunities to argue a point in the 140-character space, I usually try to hold to a few tenets: Don’t be a jerk Be constructive in my criticism Ask questions Don’t be a jerk Try to understand the other person’s point of view I’m not always successful in adhering to these self-imposed guidelines, but I like to think that reminding myself of them makes me a bit more self-aware before engaging in verbal rhetoric. I guess you could say that I’m a bit of a “know-it-all” (those that know me will readily affirm this). I’m not proud of this failing, so I try to actively monitor my level of “jerkiness” in conversation. Other times, I just can’t help myself and try to find nuance,...

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Video Story Problem – Kohl’s Cash is Like Stealing

Sep 16, 2013 by

Alright, so the promotional coupons known as Kohl’s Cash aren’t really stealing, but it sure felt like it this last weekend. I had spent a tidy sum on back to school clothes for the family over Labor Day weekend, and was rewarded for my good consumerism with promotional coupons worth $80 of merchandise at the Kohl’s chain department store. For those not in the know, Kohl’s is one of those large discount department store chains based out of Wisconsin. One of their signature hallmarks are the seemingly magical discount racks found throughout the store; %60-%80 off clothing racks are present in almost every department, and through some retail wizardry, clothes that would normally cost close to $100 are a mere fraction after further discounts and promotions. It’s almost enough to make you question the authenticity of the “original price” stickers and signs. Regardless of whether Kohl’s and other retailers...

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Fresh Brownies! A Video Story Problem

Nov 10, 2011 by

Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Sean Dardis, Dave Mills, and Betty Sundling to the Video Story Problem channel over on Vimeo! They earn the award for “most courageous teachers of the week” in my book for taking the first step in exploring how to make math a little more engaging, and a bit more relevant to students. The three are all 6th grade math teachers in Mattawan, and while they’ve always done a fantastic job of developing strong relationships with students, they’re exploring how they can use media to help connect with the more visual learners that are present in many schools these days. The main goal of this little video story problem project is to try and bring the real world into the classroom through math, and this brownie problem is a great first step towards that. It’s simple, direct, and tosses in a bit of cheekiness for the students...

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Video Story Problem – Water, Friction, and Force

Oct 27, 2011 by

In my never ending quest to find an engaging way to bring the real world into the classroom, I captured some video of my children and I playing with one of those massive rolling granite sphere water fountains. I’ve never really been intriqued by the tiny little desktop versions of these fountains, where a small amount of water is able to “float” a tiny granite sphere the size of a baseball, and then allow it to rotate freely. The stones usually fit in your hand, and the entire effect seems clunky and obvious. However, when you come across a stone sphere that’s more than half your height, and most likely weighs several hundred pounds, you realize there’s no possible way any one person could cause it to move or rotate with one hand. Yet all it takes is a little bit of gurgling water to set it in motion, and...

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Come Join the Video Story Problems Channel

Oct 4, 2011 by

I’ve been not so secretly trying to experiment with video, “real world math”, and how to turn a mainstay of modern mathematics instruction (the story problem) into real life examples of how you can use even the most elementary, or complex math, in your everyday experiences. And as of yesterday, I’ve got some help! The awesome elementary teachers over at the Engaging Educator’s blog have started to submit their students’ video story problems to the Vimeo channel I created, with the promise of more teachers’ and students’ work to come! While the concept of the video story problem is still very much a work in progress, there are a few basic goals that I’m striving to master. While I certainly don’t want to rely on any one “formula” for putting together a video story problem, I do have a small checklist that I’ve been forming for myself as I...

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