Math 753 • Session 1

For background, this.


Introductions, establishing course routines, discussing course themes, first round of recurring tasks/problems, proportional reasoning, graphing as storytelling, MTBoS shout-out.


Slide Deck

In recent workshops and classes I’ve been experimenting will pulling more and more of the resources I’ll using during a given session into a Keynote slide deck. It’s pretty easy to navigate around the Internet, but it’s even easier to progress through a set of slides. Also, preparing the slide deck in this semi-comprehensive way forces me to think more thoroughly through transitions from one activity to another and connections between our tasks each evening.

At any rate, the latest effort in this experiment is here, in two formats: PDF, Keynote

Math Counts

We’ll use MathCounts as a resource for our problem solving sets this semester. General information on this national middle school mathematics competition is here. Direct access to this year’s handbook (which contains over 300 problems) is here. (Note: I pulled our first problem solving set from the 2012-2013 handbook, but the new handbook is now available, along with a fresh site redesign.)

Estimation 180

For extended commentary on why I think Estimation 180 is awesome, check out my guest post over at Andrew Stadel’s Estimation 180 site. (For further evidence of my love for Estimation 180—imitation, sincerity, flattery, etc.—check out The Running Game and Proportion Play (details below).

Common Core State Standards for Mathematics (CCSSM)

We’ll dig into the common core standards more next session.

The Running Game

A series of bite-sized proportional reasoning challenges, with some new additions since we talked last week. More details coming later, but I think I’m done with “Running Game” challenges. In the near future I hope to add a second set of challenges, “Partial Produce.”

And I almost forgot! I have a new draft for the Running Game handout.

Visual Patterns

I love Fawn Nguyen’s Visual Patterns website. Her blog and Twitter are worth your time as well.

First, to bring Visual Patterns into my classroom, I’ve created a series of introductory challenges. They begin with simply proportional patterns, move into linear, then quadratic, advanced quadratic, and finally oblong and triangular numbers. I’m finding that with this set of sequenced training patterns in hand I can lead students of varying experience, age, and ability into the world of visual patterns. My ultimate goal is to turn students loose on the full set of challenges available on Visual Patterns, and with a few carefully chosen (or newly created) patterns I can do just that.

Second, I’ve tweaked Fawn’s excellent handout to provide students with more room to draw, sketch, etc., and I’ve added a fifth task (working backward from a given number of items to find an unknown step number). My handout is here in three formats: PDF, Pages, Word

(The file was made using Apple’s Pages, so I make no promises that the Word file preserved the formatting perfectly.)

In N Out Soda Fountain Task

In class we worked through an early version of this task, based on this photo taken a few days ago at an In N Out soda fountain. I know there’s a worthwhile task on proportional reasoning in there, and you can see my rough thoughts by looking through the slide deck. I expect I’ll revise this task later in the course (based in part on comments and brainstorming from our first session) and bring a new version back for further discussion.

For now, have a look at the slide deck to review what we explored.


It’s free, it’s amazing. Did I mention it’s amazing? Oh, and it keeps getter better.

  • Head over to the Main page
  • Click through to the calculator
  • Create a free account (you might want a Google Account while you’re at it)
  • Experiment and explore!
  • Not sure where to begin? Just start by clicking on everything you see.
  • If you’d prefer a more structured introduction, download Quick Start Guide or the full length User Guide

Graphing Stories

Our fifth theme for the course (if you take my list in the slide deck over FPU’s list in the course catalog) will be exploring algebra through (and making connections between) four representations:

  • Numerical
  • Graphical
  • Algebraic
  • Verbal

We’ll explore graphs as data rich, contextualized storytellers, and Graphing Stories will serve us well in that effort.

Reason and Wonder

If you’re reading this, you’ve already made your way to my blog. Have a look around!

Reading Assignment

Nothing this week.

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  1. Pingback: Math 753 • Session 2 | Reason and Wonder

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