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Monty Python and the Quadratic Shrubbery

§ January 11th, 2012 § 1 Comment- Add yours§ Filed under From the Elevated Math Team, Other Voices, Teaching Math § Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

If you have taught your math students about perimeter and area, if you are ready to present them with an application challenge, and if they are into Pythonesque comedy (Do you know many middle schoolers who are not into the absurd?), consider showing this clip from Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

After watching the clip, distribute the activity, “Monty Python and the Quadratic Shrubbery,” for your students to complete.

Applying newly learned math skills in a real-world helps students master those skills instead of just § Read the rest of this entry…

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My Last Math Class

§ August 8th, 2011 § 7 Comments- Add yours§ Filed under Teaching Math § Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,


The last year of teaching middle school math was over 25 years ago. Years away were NCLB, high-stakes testing, RTI Tiers I-III, and teacher accountability. By law, kids were allowed to drop out of school once they reached the age of 16, and kids who had not passed all subjects in the 8th grade were not allowed to advance into high school. As a result the middle school teachers had a pool of kids just biding their time.

In my last year with that district I had classes of 8th graders who were 14 – 16 years old, mostly boys who had no interest in learning much of anything. These were the tough classes.  The classes no one else wanted. The kids who were already 16 willingly shared that they were at school to hang out with friends, eat free breakfast and lunch, and to sleep.  Easy to conclude, these kids had not been and were not successful in math. § Read the rest of this entry…

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