A Fish Story I’ve said this before, but mathematics occurs in the strangest of places. Walking down the street in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, I was admiring the architecture. Lo and behold, suddenly there appeared a tile mosaic of a fish on the side of one building. I’m such a math nerd, so I couldn’t help but notice the square tiles and wonder, how many tiles did it take to make that fish? Or in math speak, “what is the area of the fish?” Then the teacher in me emerged. I’ve been on a kick lately with the “What do you […]

## Quadratic Functions and Projectile Motion

Throwing Your Weight Around No, dear, you cannot change -16 to -12 in the quadratic equation because it factors more nicely. –Disgruntled Curriculum Specialist, Could Be Your ISD Ever feel like every quadratic equation has an x-squared term with a coefficient of -16 or -4.9? -16 factors nicely but -4.9 certainly doesn’t. Projectile motion is a great context and is highly relevant both to students and to a variety of careers and situations. Coefficients of -16 and -4.9 are directly related to Earth’s gravity, so it’s hard to change those values so that the curve makes a prettier graph or so […]

## Using Real World Data – Histograms

Every now and again, you’re watching the news or reading the newspaper, and then all of a sudden – bam! Math slaps you upside the head. Histograms or some other strange phenomena appear right out of nowhere. And usually, when you least expect it. Suddenly, real world data are being used to make a point in the media. And if you’re a math teacher, you immediately seize on the data and think about how you can turn it around with your kids. Math in a Burrito On a discussion forum, I ran across a post that linked to this article in […]

## Math TEKS Implementation Update – Nov. 2015

The Texas State Board of Education’s Committee on Instruction met Thursday, November 19. One of their agenda items was an update on the implementation of the revised math TEKS. Hence, I was invited to testify about the mathematical process standards since that seemed to be the hot point in today’s hearing. There were a few parents testifying with concerns about how the mathematical process standards seem to be interfering with the math that they feel their kids should be learning. One father expressed frustration with his child having to learn multiple strategies to perform basic computations with whole numbers, rather than […]

## Foundation Math or Endorsement Math?

If you’re confused about the new mathematics graduation options for the HB5 Foundation diploma and endorsement program, you’re not alone. Many school administrators and counselors are still trying to wrap their heads around the possibilities and create meaningful graduation pathways for their students. A little bit of background With 4×4, the former Recommended High School Plan (RHSP), math graduation requirements were much simpler. Algebra 1, Geometry, Algebra 2 for all, and then a 4th math choice with Algebra 2 as a prerequisite. Except for the Math Models conundrum, all was well with the world and counselors could very easily keep […]