Peregrine Falcon – Fastest Animal Alive

I need your help…..

I modified this video originally from Vox for a colleague and her math class.

Could you watch this short video on peregrine falcons with your students….

and then Complete these tasks?

1. What do you notice? What do you wonder?
2. What questions will you work on with your students? Work on them.
3. You can watch the full video here to see/hear un-bleeped values.
4. Take pictures of any thinking your students show you. Send me comments & pictures on Twitter, email, or here.

I’ll update the post with your student’s work.



Lollipop Lollipop oh la la Lollipop! — & Rates of Change

Last year on twitter I saw that Alex Overwijk and Janice Bernstein with their grade 12 advanced functions classes did this lollipop activity!

I knew that I wanted to give this a try for this semester! What I especially love about this activity other than students experiencing rates of change is that this is an activity that can span multi-grades!

Here is what we did,

Generating Curiosity

I found this video on YouTube and asked the class to think of great questions we could ask about what we see!

FullSizeRender-1Great questions from the kids and we all agreed to look at

  • How does the sucking time affect the radius, circumference, volume, and surface area?
  • How long will it take until the lollipop is all gone?

Let’s investigate those relationships starting with the easy to measure (circumference) and also estimate how long it will take until the lollipop is no more!

We had guesses : ranging from 10 minutes through to 35 minutes.

Gathering Data

I handed out one lollipop per pair of students, along with some dental floss for measuring circumference. We set our timer for 30 seconds and began sucking and capturing data!
We recorded the circumference every 30 seconds up to 7 minutes like Al’s and Janice’s instruct in their lesson Plan.
They also have a great handout for tracking the circumference over the 30 second intervals. Screen Shot 2015-09-18 at 2.22.08 PM

Analyzing the Data

So we first looked at the Time vs. Circumference and Time vs. Radius relationship
Linear - Lollipop

Screen Shot 2015-09-18 at 2.27.24 PM
We discussed its linearity and why. Students predicted with more accuracy when their lollipop would run out.
Up to this point this task is great for grades 7, 8, 9, or 10!! (Just edit the file to exclude the average and instantaneous rates of change).

  • Grade 7 & 8: Practice plotting points and reading/interpreting graphs.
  • Grade 9 & 10: Find lines of best fit and first differences.

We found the average rate of change for each 30 second interval and discussed what this meant. We used the last column to talk about narrowing the interval down to estimate the instantaneous rate of change, and noticed that it’s about the same for all values. Why does this make sense???



We moved on to looking at Time vs. Volume and Time vs. Surface Area

Screen Shot 2015-09-20 at 9.33.23 AM

Great talks around how Volume and Surface aren’t deceasing at a constant rate! It changes! Students can see these changes and see in their tables where the volume is changing the fastest.

Overall a great intro activity to get students thinking about narrowing intervals to approximate instantaneous rates of change.

Next up: We’ll relate what we did here with the tables to the graphical interpretation of rates of change (secant and tangent lines) and then on to the algebraic!

Screen Shot 2015-09-20 at 6.23.18 PM


Final Assignment – Estimation Challenge

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

Screen Shot 2015-06-16 at 11.21.31 AM

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 …

Screen Shot 2015-06-16 at 11.26.04 AM

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?
Screen Shot 2015-06-17 at 8.00.20 PM





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.
IMG_1325 2

Act 2: She provided us with a little more info after we made some guesses.
IMG_1327 2

Act 3: Made a time lapse video and provided a screen shot with the answer

IMG_1328 2

Grab her Explain Everything File here




How many stickies to fill the door window?

FullSizeRender 17

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.

Dora to the Rescue

Next on Making Algebra Meaningful  – Dora to the Rescue!

Our goal is to tackle this beast from our expectations:

add and subtract polynomials involving the same variable up to degree three [e.g., (2x + 1) + (x^2 – 3x + 4)],using a variety of tools


multiply a polynomial by a monomial involving the same variable to give results up to degree three [e.g., (2x)(3x), 2x(x + 3)], using a variety of tools


Part 1 (Act 1) Being Curious

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