Math 753 • Session 4

Personal challenge for this post: Brevity. You’ll know by the end if I achieved my goal. 🙂


A few of our “usual” activities,  annotating graphing stories, expansion of the “create your own” theme into new territory, and a fresh attempt at a proportional graphing challenge.



Two flavors: PDF, Keynote


Warm-Up 3. Official handbook is here.

Estimation 180

I was tempted to do some diaper estimation (this is a regular part of my life at home these days), but I opted instead for Red Vines (Day 36 and Day 37). Here’s a look at what we’re skipping:

753 Session 4.012

Course Themes

Ratios and proportional reasoning (#2) and four representations (#5).

I think I won’t be a liar if I promise that we’re moving into new territory next week (probably “arithmetic to algebra”).

Graphing Stories

I’m moving this section of the class forward in the evening so we’re sure to have enough time to discuss. (In recent sessions I’ve run short on time and had to cancel this activity.)

In addition to reviewing the first four graphing stories, we’ll annotate solution graphs using ThingLink (HT: John Stevens). Here’s a sample created (i.e., annotated) by yours truly (image credit goes to Dan Meyer, video credit to Adam Poetzel).

More details on this assignment below.

Desmos Proportional Graphing Challenge v2.0

Heading into a class or a workshop, my excitement level for a particular activity is often directly proportional to the amount of time I spent creating/preparing/tweaking. In line with that model, I was very excited to see how the first version of the Proportional Graphing Challenge would play out.

In a nutshell: It was terrible.

I’ll share my thoughts on how any why things went wrong sometime in the future, but for now I have a second approach that (I hope) deals with some of the weaknesses of v1.0.

One major shift: No more browser-tab juggling. Instead, students will have paper copies of the challenges as they use Desmos to match various graphs.

Here are the handouts: One, TwoThree

Visual Patterns

Last session I assigned our first “Create Your Own” visual pattern. I’m excited to see what everyone brings to class. We’ll do a pair/trade/solve/discuss model for one, two, or three rounds, as time allows.

I’m hopeful that this mixing of ideas will lead to even more creative patterns in future sessions.

Big Ideas in Algebra

Last session’s reading assignment included a handful of blog post responses to the previous week’s reading assignment (Grant Wiggins’ “bashing algebra” post). No new reading assignment for this week, but we’ll carve out a space to discuss how last week’s reading is shaping our own “big ideas” list.

Proportion Play

I originally thought we wouldn’t work through every Running Game challenge as last week’s solving session culminated in a great look at a variety of solution approaches to the second half of the Day 5 Challenge.

variety of solution approaches

However, after trying the Day 7 Challenge with my own students, I’m convinced that there is still some untouched, discussion-rich territory to explore in the upcoming challenges. We may still jump ahead to one of the super challenges in the next couple of weeks, but for now I’m curious to see how teachers attack Day 7 and Day 8.

Reading Assignment

Nothing official this week. However, I invite you to explore one of the blogs you’ve come across in recent weeks if you find yourself with 30 minutes to spare one day this week. Or try one of these amazing blogs:

“Create Your Own” Assignments

Estimation 180 (#1)

Create one or two of your own estimation challenges. They may be inspired by what we’ve done in class, or what you see over at Estimation 180, but they must be your own invention. A few more details:

  • Take a photo of something that can be estimated
  • Use presentation software (Apple Keynote, Google Presentation, or Microsoft PowerPoint) to create a “question” slide and an “answer” slide
  • Make sure the answer is not revealed in the “question” slide
  • Share your slides with me via email no later than 11:59 pm on Monday, September 23

Annotate a Graphing Story (#1, #2)

The first annotation should be completed in class. The steps for each annotation are the same.

Something to do once:

  • Create a ThingLink account (look for “Join Now!” in the top right)

Things to do each time:

  • Select a graphing story from here
  • Watch one of the videos
  • Carefully sketch your solution by hand (consider using pens, colored pencils, and/or markers)
  • Take a photo with a smartphone
  • Upload your image to ThingLink (start with the “Create” button in the top right corner)
  • Add annotations to help tell the story of the graph
  • Share your annotated image with me via email (copy any paste the URL into an email)
  • Here’s the URL of my example:

Visual Patterns (#2)

Create one or two more of your own visual patterns. They may be inspired by what we’ve done in class, or what you see over at Visual Patterns, but they must be your own invention. A few more details:

  • Create a visual for Step 1, Step 2, and Step 3. (you may include Step 4 if you find it helpful or necessary.)
  • Create each step by carefully drawing, using a computer, or taking photographs of patterns you see or build in the physical world. (I would love to see the latter.)
  • Put Steps 1-3 (or 1-4) on a single sheet of paper (physical, digital, or both). Bring at least four physical copies of your visual pattern to class next week.
  • Ideally, your pattern will fit the linear growth theme we’ve explored in the first few sessions.

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  1. Pingback: Math 753 • Session 5 | Reason and Wonder

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