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Random Math Tips

Which slope is which?

posted Aug 14, 2013, 5:37 AM by Kathryn Behling

When teaching the types of slope for the first time in pre-algebra/algebra, it seems pretty easy right?  You expect your students to be able to pick up the whole positive, negative, zero, undefined thing with very little problems. Well, sometimes they just don't.  Especially the zero and undefined slopes.  So, every year I teach this, I give the students 4 post-it notes that say each type of slope.  They then have one minute to go around the room and put their post-it note on something that has that type of slope.  When they are all done, we go through and make sure all of the post-it notes are correct, and then we leave them up there.  It is a constant reminder to my students what the different types of slope are.  

Graphing Rational Functions

posted Aug 7, 2013, 6:16 AM by Kathryn Behling   [ updated Aug 7, 2013, 6:19 AM ]

Graphing rational functions are HARD for students.  Particularly those in Algebra 2 who are learning all this new terminology:  vertical asymptote, horizontal asymptote, hole, etc.  I create a chart that my students are required to use when graphing rational functions to make sure that they get all the pieces for their graph.  Feel free to steal it!

Intermediate Value Theorem

posted Jul 30, 2013, 7:54 AM by Kathryn Behling

Sometimes, it seems like AP Calculus is just theorem after theorem after theorem.  My students have some trouble keeping all of them separated in their mind.  They particularly had trouble with the Intermediate Value Theorem.  One day, I figured out the perfect way to explain it.  I stood on one side of the classroom and then told my students to close their eyes.  I quietly moved to the other side of the classroom and told them to open their eyes.  I told them I had done a magic trick and appeared on the other side of my classroom.  They all adamantly deny that I had done a magic trick.  So I ask them what they know I had to cross in front.  They then start listing things left and right that I had to pass to make it to the other side of the classroom.  I make them justify everything until one student finally says, "Well, we know you can't disappear and we know you can't fly!"  Exactly!!  We then talk about what it means for a function to be continuous - it can't "disappear" and it can't "fly".  

If anything, my students always remembered that it was the theorem where I did my magic trick!! 


posted Jul 25, 2013, 1:07 PM by Kathryn Behling   [ updated Jul 30, 2013, 6:26 AM ]

For anyone who has ever taught Statistics, getting your students to remember all of the steps involved in confidence intervals and hypothesis testing is IMPOSSIBLE!  When I was doing my AP Calculus teacher institute at Davidson College, I met this awesome statistics teacher who shared these with me. 
For Confidence Intervals, always make your students PANIC:
P - state your parameter(s)
A - state and justify your assumptions
N - name your interval
I - find your interval
C - write a conclusion in context of the problem
For Hypothesis Testing, get your kids to follow PHANTOMS:
P - parameters
H - hypotheses
A - assumptions
N - name your test
T - find your test statistic
O - obtain your p-value
M - make a decision (reject or fail to reject)
S - state a conclusion in the context of the problem
I hope this helps you!  It certainly changed my 2's and 3's into 4's and 5's!!

Math Tips!

posted Jul 25, 2013, 1:03 PM by Kathryn Behling   [ updated Jul 30, 2013, 6:26 AM ]

I have had some really amazing mentors over the years who have given me little tips that make things so much easier to teach in my classroom!  I'd like to try to compile those so I'm going to post one every week!  If you have a suggestion, use the link on the left to email me!!

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