An article in Education Week caught my eye recently. It examined Curriculum Playlists as a method of personalizing instruction. Here’s a quote:
“But some have found that implementing a playlist-based instructional model is harder—and more expensive—than it looks: On top of facilities renovations and technology upgrades, yearly software licenses cost $225 per student”
This is, in a word, ridiculous. It doesn’t have to be expensive or hard to implement a truly individualized program of math instruction.
The concept is simple really: 1. Assess 2. Provide Instruction 3. Verify Mastery 4. Assess again! Okay, but let’s be specific about what we are assessing. Too often, assessment of math skills is reserved for on level. Far too many students have skill gaps several grades below their current level. Too assess properly the functional grade level must be ascertained first. Then the student must be quickly assessed on each skill in that functional grade level to determine where the student needs instruction.
An effective assessment and instructional math program that provides truly individual study plans for each student can be very easy for a teacher to implement. Also, it should cost no more than a small fraction of the amount mentioned in the Education Week article.
We continue our series of fun March Mathness problems this week. Here are two that were submitted for the Final Four.
Gonzaga and South Carolina will play each other in the Semi-Final on Saturday. In the last round Gonzaga beat Xaviar 83 to 59. South Carolina beat Florida 77 to 70. Determine how many points each team won by. Which team won by the greatest margin?
In Oregon’s win over Kansas Saturday, Tyler Dorsey made 9 out of 13 field goals. Kansas starter Frank Mason III made 8 out of 20 field goals. Determine the field goal percentage for each by dividing 9 by 13 and 8 by 20. Who had the better field goal percentage?
The teams that made it to the Sweet Sixteen are very different. Some have posted high scores in post season, some low. But they are all winners. Can you find the mean, median, and mode for points scored per game by the teams in the Sweet Sixteen?
||Game 1 score
||Game 2 score
Here are some fun math problems to share with students:
1. NBA games have 4 12-minute quarters. College games have 2 20-minute halves. Which games are longer, NBA or College, and by how much?
2. The tournament started with 64 teams. Of those, 48 have been sent home. How many teams are left?
3. College players use a basketball that is 9.4 inches in diameter. The hoop is 18 inches in diameter. If a ball passes exactly through the center of the net, how much space will there be between the edge of the ball and the hoop?
Check back regularly for more March Mathness problems.
Submit your March Mathness math problem to email@example.com
I am from Minnesota and yes, I am a graduate of the University there. And I am upset. I’m upset at the upset of the #5 seeded Golden Gophers at the hands (large hands) of the Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders.
It was one of two upsets in the first day of the tournament. It won’t make me feel any better but let’s do the math anyway.
Xavier 76 over Maryland 65.
Middle Tennessee State 81 over Minnesota 72
Which team won by the most points? What was the average of points put up by the losing teams? What was the average points put up by the winning teams?
Check back regularly for more March Mathness problems. Submit your March Mathness math problem to firstname.lastname@example.org
As we prepare for the actual games, some folks out there are having special fun with the 68 teams. USA Today presents a ranking of the teams according to their team name and mascot. We figured why not add a little math to that fun.
Share the link with your class and ask these questions and a few more of your own:
What is the ranking for the Virginia Cavaliers? What is the ranking for the Maryland Terrapins? What is the difference in their rankings?
Which of these teams is ranked in the top 25%, Oregon Ducks, Minnesota Gophers, Michigan Wolverines, North Carolina Tar Heels?
If names alone show strength and speed we like 1. Wake Forest Demon Deacons, 2. Notre Dame Fighting Irish, 3. Xaviar Musketeers, and 4. Seton Hall Pirates. What is the average of their rakings?
Ranking all 68 NCAA tournament teams by mascot
Some of the most popular posts of the past three years have been those celebrating March Mathness, the math behind the sport of basketball!
Many of you sent in your own math problems for posting. These included scores, records of teams, distance teams have to travel, the basketball court itself, even the numbers on the player’s jerseys. Math plays into this annual event in more ways than you might think.
So check this blog regularly for more fun math problems. Send your ideas for March Mathness math problems to email@example.com
Meanwhile, here is a favorite updated from last year:
A basketball court measures 94 feet by 50 feet. What is the perimeter of the court? What is the area?
A recent study by the National Conference of State Legislatures has concluded that world-class education systems have a few common elements that we can learn from: a strong early education system, a high-quality professional teacher workforce, robust career and technical education programs, and strong alignment between K-12 and college/career goals.
These common strengths have parallels in the business world as well.
- Strong Early Education System = Strong Onboarding of Employees
Having a strong education system for a new employee during the first months is critical. Ensuring the best onboarding experience pays dividends years and sometimes even decades later.
- High Quality Professional Teacher Workforce = Hiring “A” Players
A high quality workforce is our biggest asset. We’ve all heard it. Hiring is the most important business decision we will make. Still, the process is too often rushed or compromised. Start by knowing what qualities are truly needed for the position and perform a rigorous, in-depth interview of any final candidates. Always check references meticulously.
- Robust Career and Technical Education Program = Commitment to Ongoing Development of Employees
What work’s best for students who are preparing to enter the workforce also works best once they are there. Your team needs a robust education program in the form of ongoing personal and professional development.
- Strong Alignment between K-12 and college/career goals = Strong Alignment to Mission and Strategic Plan
Every employee must know how his or her actions fit into the mission and culture of our company. Share your vision consistently so your team knows how the strategic plan relates to their personal objectives.
In many ways, the best education systems are following a path blazed by the best companies in the world.
Share these fun math facts about our Presidents with your students.
- The four Presidents featured on Mount Rushmore are often considered our greatest. What were their total years in office?
George Washington, 1789-1797 (8 years)
Thomas Jefferson, 1801-1809 (8 years)
Abraham Lincoln, 1861-1865 (4 years)
Theodore Roosevelt, 1901-1909 (8 years)
2. The youngest person to enter the office of the Presidency was Theodore Roosevelt (43 years old). At 70 years old, Donald Trump is the oldest person to become President of the United States.
How many years separate these two? What is the mean age of a President?
3. There have been 14 Presidents from the Democratic Party 19 from the Republican Party. What percentage have been Democrats? What percentage Republicans?
Extra Credit: Determine the proper percentages for all parties.
Federalist Party 2
Whig Party 5
Democratic-Republican Party 4
Our records show that math intervention and enhancement students working in Ascend Math are making fantastic progress this year. We offer this Valentine’s Day math fun for them and you.
1. The oldest known valentine still in existence today was a poem written in 1415 by Charles, Duke of Orleans, to his wife while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London following his capture at the Battle of Agincourt. (The greeting is now part of the manuscript collection of the British Library in London, England.) How many years have passed since that first valentine?
2. According to the Hallmark Corporation, 132 million Valentine’s Day cards are exchanged annually, making Valentine’s Day the second-most popular greeting-card-giving occasion. This total does not include packaged kids valentines for classroom exchanges. Packages of 25 Valentines are on sale for $5.00 each. How many could be purchased for $20?
3. According to a nationwide survey conducted by the National Confectioners Association (NCA) Americans overwhelmingly prefer chocolate over flowers on Valentine’s Day by a margin of 69 to 31%. When asked what was their most popular flavor in a box of Valentine’s Day chocolates here’s how they voted:
24% Chocolate-covered nuts
13% Cream filled
13% Chocolate filled
What percentage said something other than these top choices? What do you think was the next most popular chocolate?