Percent Pile Up – MEL3E Day 5

Today I wanted to see what my class’s prior knowledge was around percent. Since they are 16-17 year olds they have been exposed to percent quite a lot. But since their math skills are operating anywhere between a grade 5 level through to a grade 9 level I wanted us all on the same page.

I started off with an Explain Everything file I put together. The slides start at a basic level but then creates a need to determine equivalent values that match a certain percentage.

Slide 1:

Getting the explain everything file onto each students iPad, or getting them connected to the wifi, or showing them how to type in a URL can take some time… slide 1 is an easy intro that students who are waiting can work on.


Slide 2,3,4

I wanted to make sure that when we know the whole is 100 that just counting the tiles covered gives us the percentage. These were too easy for my students but it gave us some time to review writing a fraction as a decimal and as a percent. I asked students to tell me the percentage they covered and then we converted to a decimal and fraction. They had the option to record what they were thinking.


Slide 5,6,7


Right away almost all students covered 10 squares. I then asked them to convert their new fraction (10/50) into a decimal to see if we get 0.1 ….and then some shock on their faces appeared. Some students then knew their mistake and made some corrections. But we spent some time here going over the visual interpretation …..10% means that 10/100 are covered. This board had been cut in half so only 5 must be 10%.


Slide 8-12





This is where we generated a need for an algebraic (proportion) method. The students could estimate how tall he could be….but they had a hard time determining with accuracy how tall he would be. So this is where I stepped in and showed them how to calculate. The remaining slides with Fido and then with piles of gold and then finally with no visuals at all were to practice this method.

After all slides were finished they started on some more practice questions on paper. We’ll finish those tomorrow as most students just started it.

Grab a copy of the Explain Everything project file

Final Assignment – Estimation Challenge

For our final activity I started the off with this……

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we filled in too high, too low, and best guesses! Then we checked the answer…..

Completing this challenge got the students pumped and hooked into doing some math on our very last days of class (especially with some students exempted from the final exam). Our final assignment is to …

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We got out the iPads and I let the kids work….. here is what a few came up with:

A lot of kids did water filling or post it note covering estimates. Some kids ended up making an all-out 3 Act math problem.


How many caps will fill the marker?

Estimate & Answer



How many cups to fill the shape?
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A 3- act task in Explain Everything:

How many post-its will cover this triangular wall:

Act 1: She put a photo and a small video in Explain Everything to start us off.
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Act 2: She provided us with a little more info after we made some guesses.
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Act 3: Made a time lapse video and provided a screen shot with the answer

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Grab her Explain Everything File here




How many stickies to fill the door window?

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And hit us up with a time lapse video for the answer:




How many water bottles will fill the hexagonal prism?


and the answer


Watch the water fill up by grabbing her Explain Everything File

A fun last few days….and I’ve got some new estimates for class next year.

Distance-Time Graphs – Gallery Walk

The last few semesters I ran this two-day lesson on distance-time graphs. Today I added a new twist on Day 2.

Recap: Day 1 – A few prediction videos on water height in a cup vs. time. Then WATERLINE by Desmos!

Day 2:  Today

Warm Up – We reviewed the previous day’s work by choosing one of the cups from the picture and drawing a water-height vs. time graph.

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Not surprisingly, no students chose to draw the graph for the Stanley Cup. After they make their sketches we dove into using the CBR Rangers from Vernier just like on Day 2 from the previous post. They walked in front of the Ranger taking various different walks and we all saw their distance-time graphs in real-time. For each walk the students made prediction graphs on their whiteboards before seeing the live graph.

I wanted more predictions from them so I showed them a video I made. They were to watch the video and make a prediction graph of my distance away from the camera vs. time.

After take up of this graph they were to create their own video on the iPads. Each pair of students we’re given a scenario to film that described motion.

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Here are two motion videos they filmed: Very basic to start!

They had to create their distance-time graph and hide it under the flap on the vertical whiteboards.

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Pairs then went on a gallery walk. They watched each student made video, graphed the matching distance-time graph and then checked the answer under the flap.

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Kids enjoyed it and they practiced lots of different distance-time graphs.

Thanks for reading!!!


Help us Make the Awesome Assessment Tool We All Need!

Our semester is now half over and the use of our spreadsheet and mastery learning has been amazing. I didn’t think that the spreadsheet system Kyle and I created back in January,  based on Alice Keeler’s Google Sheet’s and Gamifying the classroom, would have had this much of an impact on student learning. But it did!

We want to take our Assessment spreadsheet for growth learning to the next level!

Students are empowered! They are taking learning into their own hands. They can see on their student view each learning goal (expectation) and their achievement on that goal. They have specific feedback on what to do next! They can access the customized questions based on their skill level and improve! More than before they can see exactly what to do next to get better. Screen Shot 2015-04-16 at 4.20.29 PMHowever, we know that the Master View of the spreadsheet looks intimidating to set up and edit. Screen Shot 2015-04-16 at 4.34.56 PM We have shared this spreadsheet with many educators from all different subjects, and we get the same response “This looks awesome! but…’s scary ….what if I delete a cell here or there by accident? Would it mess it all up?”

Answer: It could!

We love this tool….we want to make it better and so much easier to use. That’s where we need help!

We are just regular’ ol’ math teachers.

We imagine this on the web.

We need the help of web programmers.

In the web version:

Students, parents, can log in access and view their achievement. Share it even! A place to capture their learning!

Teachers can log in, track marks, provide feedback, award mastery badges, give next steps, reveal new questions for mastery, point to extra help resources all in one place. They could capture and store student work. Teachers could share learning goals (even whole courses) and the activities/resources they have with other teacher users.

So many tools are out there for assessment. None of them are a complete system. This one is!

We have so many ideas on where this could go….but we are stuck. We need it to be more user friendly.

Please share this out! If you know of anyone who wants to partner up, share our passion and help make this happen as much as we do….show this post to them!

Kyle over on Tap Into Teen Minds has also written a post. Go on over there are read his too!

If you yourself are interested in partnering up with us fill out the form below Let’s make that assessment tool we ALL Need!