Celebrate Black History Month with Math

Black History Month 1In honor of Black History Month we’ve provided a few fun and challenging math problems. Try these out.

1. On 25 March 1965, Martin Luther King led thousands of nonviolent demonstrators on a 5-day, 54-mile march from Selma, Alabama to the steps of the capitol in Montgomery, Alabama. According to the American College of Sports Medicine the average step length of an adult is 2.6 feet or about 31 inches. There are 5,280 feet in a mile.

Can you determine how many steps were taken by someone marching the entire distance from Selma to Montgomery Alabama?  (To estimate there are about 2000 steps in a mile)

2. A court order restricted the number of marchers to 300 when passing over a stretch of two-lane highway.  However, on the final day of the march, when the road reached four lanes the number of demonstrators swelled to  25,000.

What was the percentage of increase?

3.  An African-American and son of a former slave, Benjamin Banneker rose to fame as a brilliant scientist, scholar and mathematician.  He wrote and collected mathematical puzzles written in verse.  Here is one that can be a lot of fun to try and figure out. See how close you can come to answering the question “How many leaps did the hound have to make to catch the hare?

When fleecy skies have Cloth’d the ground
With a white mantle all around
Then with a grey hound Snowy fair
In milk white fields we Cours’d a Hare
Just in the midst of a Champaign
We set her up, away she ran,
The Hound I think was from her then
Just thirty leaps or three times ten
Oh it was pleasant for to see
How the Hare did run so timorously
But yet so very Swift that I
Did think she did not run but Fly
When the Dog was almost at her heels
She quickly turn’d, and down the fields
She ran again with full Career
And ‘gain she turn’d to the place she were
At every turn she gain’d of ground
As many yards as the greyhound
Could leap at thrice, and She did make,
Just Six, if I do not mistake
Four times She Leap’d for the Dogs three
But two of the Dogs leaps did agree
With three of hers, nor pray declare
How many leaps he took to Catch the Hare.
Just Seventy two I did Suppose,
An Answer false from thence arose,
I Doubled the Sum of Seventy two,
But still I found that would not do,
I mix’d the Numbers of them both,
Which Shew’d so plain that I’ll make Oath,
Eight hundred leaps the Dog to make,
And Sixty four, the Hare to take.

For hints on solving this complex verse problem see John F. Mahoney’s excellent discussion of this and other Banneker puzzles



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The Super Bowl of Math

Share these five engaging Super Bowl math problems with your math intervention or enhancement students.

super bowlMyth or Math?

A super bowl quarterback can throw a fully inflated football 55 yards in the air. If he has his equipment manager deflate the balls by 16% (or 2 pounds per square inch) and that causes a 10% increase in distance how much further will he throw the ball?

Adding Points

If the score is the Patriots at 27 and the Seahawks at 14, what combination of touchdowns (7 points) or field goals (3 points) would the Seahawks have to make in order to tie or win the game?

Average numbers?

If  Marshawn Lynch of the Seattle Seahawks, rushes for 127 yards on 22 carries against the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLIX, how many yards per carry would he have averaged?

Oh by the way, what Super Bowl number is that?

Dash off the answer!

A super bowl wide receiver runs a 40 yard dash in 4.5 seconds. Assuming he runs a hundred yards at the same pace, how much longer would it take him?

The more complete quarterback

Tom Brady completed 65% of his passes while Russell Wilson completes 70% they each throw 40 passes. How many passes will Tom Brady complete, how many will Russell Wilson complete? Bonus: what is the total of incomplete passes for both quarterbacks?

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Math Intervention Advice from Gold Medal Winner

A few months ago, Amy Boyd of Holabird STEM program in Baltimore County Schools spoke to a group of math educators attending the NCTM regional conference in Richmond, VA.  Holabird STEM program is an Ascend Math Gold Medal leader for 2014.

Prior to using Ascend, 97% of their students tested at least one grade below grade level, with about 70% of those students testing three or more grades below their current academic grade. The math intervention program they ran last year using Ascend Math helped these students make tremendous gains.  More than 60% of students gained two or more grade levels in math.

Please watch this brief video.


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Interactivity and Math Intervention! It Matters!

More than a year ago, we made the conscious decision to add a greater level of interactivity to the online lessons in Ascend Math.  Ascend Math was already among the most interactive math intervention resources available.  We saw the opportunity to go further. The reasons are firmly based in research.

The Role of Interactivity in Web-Based Material  examined students divided into three groups experiencing the same web content with varying degrees of interactivity.  This study found those students working most interactively with a web program attained significantly higher pre to post test gains.  The students also reported a greater sense of satisfaction and spent nearly double the amount of time on task compared to the next highest group.

Educators and students using Ascend Math agree that increased interactivity aids learning.  In a recent survey, educators using Ascend Math had the following to say:

“They like the interactivity. The students are surprised when they see their name in the captions.”

“Students enjoy the interaction. The interactivity makes this program unique.”

“I think it helps them to remain focused on what objective is being taught”

The Ascend Math website includes several examples of our interactive student experience.  Please visit. http://ascendmath.com/student_experience/index.html

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Announcing Reel Success Video Contest Winners

Crosby Middle School was the First Prize Winner in the Ascend Math Reel Success Video contest.  All the schools entering videos use Ascend Math with their math intervention students.  For example, 60% of tier 3 intervention students at Crosby Middle School grew one or more grade levels the first two months of this school year.

You can find all the winners at http://ascendmath.com/math_reel_success.html



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Education Tech Trends for 2015

Wondering what tech trends you might see in classrooms in 2015?  The Washington Post released an article you may be interested in.  They even ask for feedback on which ones might be reality and which are wishful thinking.






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Happy Holidays from Ascend Math

Happy Holidays 2Students using Ascend Math love to track their own progress using the Ascend Climber.  They can choose their own avatar and watch as the Climber ascends the mountain with each lesson they pass.  Take a look at this special Holiday version of the climber



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Holiday Math Facts and Fun

Here are some fun math problems you may wish to share with your intervention and/or enrichment students this week:

Holiday SalesAccording the National Retail Federation NRF’s consumer spending survey the average adult shopper plans to spend $804 this year, up nearly 5 percent over last year’s actual $767. How much of an increase will that be for every 1000 shoppers?

Last year, Dec. 14 was the busiest mailing day, with 839 million pieces of mail to be processed on that day alone (up from 583 million on a typical day).  What is the percentage increase?

The U.S. Postal Service will deliver 16.6 Billion cards, letters and packages during the holiday season — a task that requires 192,000 vehicles.  How many cards, letters and packages will the average vehicle carry during the holiday season?

According to the National Christmas Tree Association Americans bought 33 million real Christmas trees last year and 15 million fake trees.  Five years earlier, they bought 31 million real trees and 17 million fake trees. What was the percentage increase in real Christmas trees ?  What was the decrease in fake Christmas tree purchases during the same time period?

Haunukkah takes place Dec. 16-24

Christmas takes place on Dec. 25

Kwanzaa takes place Dec. 26-Jan. 1

Add up the total days of celebration.  How many additional non-celebration days are left in December?

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Announcing Explorations Contest – $1000 in Prizes!

Explorations2Announcing the Create Your Own Math Exploration Contest from Ascend Math. Educators submitting ideas for online math explorations for Ascend Math, intensive math intervention program will be eligible to win cash prizes.

“One of the things students like best about Ascend Math is the interactive multi-modal explorations,” said Kevin Briley, CEO of Ascend Education.  “Online virtual manipulatives and interactive problems help students understand and retain math objectives faster.    Often, the more creative the exploration, the more students rave about it.”

Now Ascend Education is giving educators and their students a chance to come up with their own ideas for online explorations for any objective grade 3-Algebra II.  The educator submitting the exploration voted best will receive a $500 cash prize. The second prize winner will receive $250 and the third $100.  Three honorable mentions will receive $50 each.

“The Create Your Own Math Exploration Contest gives math teachers a chance to share their knowledge and creativity in addition to the opportunity to win one of the cash prizes,” said Briley.  “Teachers can see examples of current Explorations in the Demo Center of our website www.ascendmath.com.”

Educators interested in submitting should download the official Storyboard Template and Instructions from www.ascendmath.com/explorations .  Completed templates can be uploaded online to exploration@ascendmath.com.  Entries will be rated for clarity, pedagogy, student interest and creativity. All entries must be submitted by May 8, 2015. The winners will be notified by email.

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Dr. Brian Scott explains why his teachers and students prefer Ascend Math

Not long ago, Dr. Brian Scott of Avon Intermediate School spoke to a group of educators from across the country at a special luncheon coinciding with the NCTM Regional Conference in Indianapolis.  Dr. Scott explained why Ascend Math has made such a difference with his teachers and students when used for math intervention and enhancement.



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