Archive for the Math Stories Category

PUMAS, an interesting site!

Posted in Math Stories on October 1, 2009 by coltswet

At this website, teachers may find outstanding activities and thoughts on how to present a concept to students. The one activity that I thought was great was called “Two Answers are Better than One”.

In this activity students are encouraged to use estimation as a first step before finding the eventual exact answer.  By estimating, you are able to determine what is reasonable before you actually calculate your final answer. This website also gives great examples that you can model for students to help with estimating and finding an eventual answer.  I also like the name of the title because its “catchy” and reinforces the importance of checking for reasonableness.  A concept that many of our students often don’t use, which allows them to sometimes make careless mistakes.

Math Stories from this past week and forward

Posted in Math Stories on September 23, 2009 by coltswet

Recently, my wife and I have been building a sunroom addition on the back of our house. This past weekend I was finishing up the siding and because of the angle of my roof I had to cut the end of the siding on an angle.  I knew the length of what I needed of the siding, however,  it had to be cut just right because the last foot or so needed to be angled due to the slope of the roof.  I didn’t have the proper skills of a construction guy, so I thought about how I could determine the proper slope “cut” so that the siding would fit behind the j-channel.  As a math teacher, I told my wife we could use the Pythagorean Theory to help determine the length of the cut from the top of the siding to the end. So I figured it out as this.  My piece of siding was 12 feet long and the piece of siding would fit perfectly up until 8 feet 8 inches. At this point the slope came into play for the remaining 14 inches. So I used the Pythagorean theory and set my problem up as such:

12″ squared + 14″ squared = the length of my slope squared.

144 + 196= slope squared

340= slope squared

Slope had to be 18 1/3 ” long.
I am so proud to say that the first thing I tell my friends when they come over to see the final project is that I successfully completed the siding myself, without the help of my neighbor who owns his own remodeling company!!!