Archive for January 2011

Mixed Numbers   Leave a comment

I was reviewing operations with mixed numbers in my accelerated pre-algebra class about a month ago.  I found some interesting errors by students.  First off, when you have a negative mixed number, be careful to make sure students aren’t multiplying the whole negative number by the denominator then adding to the numerator.  This will always result in subtraction.  The other very common error involved students adding mixed numbers with different signs.  Students would add or subtract the mixed number portion of the mixed number correctly, but would just add the fraction part of the mixed number.  What’s interesting is trying to explain to students the mathematics behind a negative mixed number.  It all lies in the fact that a negative mixed number really should ALWAYS have a parenthesis because the fraction part of the whole is also negative.


Posted January 30, 2011 by consultingstatistics in Uncategorized

AMSTI News   Leave a comment

Kristy Mann sent out the following e-mail today:

I hope you all had a great Christmas and are having a happy new year! December mystery date was December 7. No one scheduled a visit on that day so no prize was awarded in December. L (There is always January!)

A big SHOUT OUT to these teachers who invited me to their classrooms in December!  

  • Mary Barnes and Sheila Varner at Millbrook Middle/Junior (Graphing Calculators, Christmas Tree activity)
  • Krystal Payne and Erin Smith at Southside Middle  (Graphing Calculators, Christmas Tree activity)
  • Sarah Anne Wilkes at Sanford Middle (Covering and Surrounding 5.1)
  • Lynn Bailey and Kelli Watkins at Wacoochee Junior (The Private Eye with a Geometry focus)

Also a huge shout out to 8th grade teacher, Leah Sellers, from Millbrook Middle Junior High for the awesome report on her use of the Turkey Glyph! Ask her to see all the great pictures!  Even 8th graders love coloring the glyphs and exploring lots of relevant mathematics too!  Kudos to 6th grade teacher, Jessica McQueen, at WF Burns Middle too!  While popping in to check on her school, I got to see her daily data routines in action! Be sure to ask her for advice on how you too can start a daily data routine!

I was in Mobile for some AMSTI training the week after Thanksgiving (Nov 29- Dec 2) and learned a lot about PLTs (Professional Learning Teams) and got to shadow another AMSTI math specialist while helping some teachers in the Mobile area.  Great Experience!  I also visited WF Burns Middle as well as planned for a January 3rd AMSTI event and January 4th PD at Smiths Station Intermediate.

Here are 4 more ideas to help spark your creative, mathematical juices!!!!!!  

Remember to check out this website for awesome games from NCTM.

January Idea #1: Geometry Game


Check out this NCTM Illuminations lesson.

In this lesson, students classify polygons according to more than one property at a time. In the context of a game, students move from a simple description of shapes to an analysis of how properties are related.

January Idea #2: Proportional Reasoning Project

What If We Were Built Like the Dinosaurs?

Can you imagine having a three-foot long neck? What if triangular plates covered your back? How would you like to have arms so short that you could not feed yourself? In this two part activity, middle school students are given the chance to use mathematics and science to address these questions with an artistic flair. Using ratios, students design new “humans” with features that are proportional to those of the dinosaurs. They then explore the implications for humans if these new features became real body parts. The activity requires students to engage in proportional reasoning as they study paleontology. Students select a particular dinosaur and scale its distinct traits (e.g., unusually long necks, small heads, armored backs, short arms, or huge teeth) to their own body. In other words, they use proportions to determine actual body measurements from specific dinosaurs and determine how these characteristics would alter the shape of certain human characteristics. The dinosaurs featured are the apatosaurus, tyrannosaurus, and stegosaurus.

January Idea #3: Daily Data

Sports Shirt Glyph

Daily data with a rational number and geometry flare!


Coloring page:

Handouts included:

Sports Shirt Glyph Instructions

Have you ever been on a sports team?

Looking at our favorite rational numbers

January Idea #4: Promoting Thinking

QUESTIONING  Find a handout with a list of questions to help develop mathematical thinking in your classroom.  Find some questions on it that you have not been using and try them. Some teachers have made and posted in their classroom posters of questions to ask students so they can remember them and the students can start using them with each other too.

Posted January 19, 2011 by consultingstatistics in Uncategorized

New Site   1 comment

I’m very excited to be re-starting the new EACTM website.  We changed our url from to .  I’m in the process of purchasing this domain name now.  This new site will offer much easier communication between members.  I’m looking for EACTM participants who would be interested in creating blogs on the site.  The blogs should be related to mathematics education and current issues in Alabama education.  If you are interested, please e-mail at .  I will give you access to post blogs on the site after confirming membership in EACTM.  Blogging can be  a great opportunity for all of us to reach farther than our classroom and improve education throughout Alabama and the world.

Posted January 6, 2011 by consultingstatistics in EACTM