Math Memos

The Painted Cube


The first time I saw this problem I had my student hat on. As a participant in in group setting at one of the NYSED/CUNY Teacher Leader of Mathematics Institutes I attended, my fellow group members and I were tasked with solving a version of The Painted Cube.

Note: If this is your first time seeing this problem, you may want to stop here and spend some time working on a solution before continuing.

Continue reading how Patricia Helmuth used The Painted Cube in class »

The Paycheck Problem

Update: I wrote another version of the Paycheck Problem that may be more appropriate for pre-HSE classes. The hourly rate is a whole number and the practice test question does not use f(x) notation. Please let me know what you think in the comments below or in the Google Doc --> Paycheck Problem (pre-HSE version)

I don’t have my own class these days, so I’m always grateful to teachers who let me visit as a guest teacher. Angelo Ditta and Will Croxton from LaGuardia Community College in Long Island City, Queens generously allowed me to teach a combined class at their campus on the last day of class so that I could try out this new problem. The students were at a high school equivalency level, but with different levels of math abilities, as is typical of most adult education classes. The students at La Guardia are a wonderful mix of native New Yorkers and people from around the world. It’s an amazing place. Continue reading how Eric Appleton used The Paycheck Problem in class »

Mowing the Lawn: Let Students Ask the Questions

A couple months ago, one of my favorite math Tweeters and bloggers, Fawn Nguyen, posted this, which I promptly liked and retweeted:

Continue reading how Tyler Holzer used Mowing the Lawn: Let Students Ask the Questions in class »

Writing about Math: Solving Equations

Not long ago, I read an article by Marilyn Burns in which she explained how she used to view math and writing as “oil and water.” She thought that the two subjects had nothing to do with one another, and “writing played no role in [her] math classroom.” But now, she says, she “can no longer imagine teaching math without making writing an integral aspect of students’ learning.” In this article, Burns goes on to offer a number of suggestions for how teachers can incorporate writing into their math classes. This article really stuck with me, and so now, at least once each week, I like to ask my students to write about the math that we have been doing in class.

Continue reading how Tyler Holzer used Writing about Math: Solving Equations in class »

The Movie Theater Problem

I wanted to share some feedback on this problem because it’s so similar to the Goats and Chickens Problem that Daphne Carter-McKnight wrote about recently. You can read her fantastic writeup of the problem here. I like to use the Movie Theater Problem to assess how well students are able to make connections between the two problems and to see if they’re able to try some new approaches that maybe they didn’t try the first time around.

Continue reading how Tyler Holzer used The Movie Theater Problem in class »