Make it Parallel – An Activity with Parallel Lines

I find making the relationship among parallel lines and transversals real-world tough. So instead of real-world I went with Fake-World but making sure I incorporated space for curiosity and inquiry.

Here’s what we did…

I started class with a What do you wonder? What do you notice?

We recorded our wonderings. IMG_3327

Most students didn’t know what to say about it. Next I replayed the video and said, “I want you to yell NOW when the two white lines are parallel”

Kids were yelling out at about the same time……”Good, it’s awesome you guys can ball park when two lines are parallel”. Now Let’s create parallel lines.

I had already set up situations like this all over the hall, classroom, and outside. The prompt from me was “Create another line that cuts the transversal and is parallel to the first line. ” I also gave each group a set of pull back cars to “test out” their newly formed parallel lines…..We used them to show that the two cars won’t cross paths. Screen Shot 2015-05-26 at 11.58.44 AM

I let each group struggle with how to figure this out. I gave them all a metre stick, protractor, and markers/chalk.

Screen Shot 2015-05-26 at 12.06.00 PM

We had discussions on how we know the two lines are parallel. I pushed each group to develop the angle relationships around the transversal.

Once each group had made the new path, they were to grab their iPad and access the Explain Everything file on Parallel Lines & Transversals. They were to use the interactive features such as the protractor, and pen tools to determine the answers to the questions.




Screen Shot 2015-05-26 at 12.18.50 PM


That was out lesson on discovering properties of parallel lines and transversals. Feel free to drop me a message for any improvements/feedback!!

Check out more great Explain Everything activities:

Cathy Yenca (@mathycathy) – Using Explain Everything for Hands-On Digital Puzzles

Kyle Pearce (@mathletepearce) –

From me:



Error Analysis & Explain Everything

IMG_3146If you have read my previous posts(here, here, and here) on Explain Everything ….you’ll know  I love it, and know that I love it because it’s so versatile!

Last year I created/used a series of warm ups or openers or minds on activities (or any other name) in my Advanced Functions class that used iPads:

  1. Daily Desmos – Matching
  2. Sorting/Matching functions to equations activities in Explain Everything
  3. Whiteboard Share – Complete a problem in Explain Everything and AirPlay to Apple TV. Discuss.
  4. Complete a new problem in Explain Everything with a video Hint built in.
  5. Video Critique – Find the Error – Error Analysis.

This last one I want to discuss here.

That opener was a way for me to check homework ….really, a way for me to check understanding of the previous day’s work.

I used Explain Everything and created a file with videos of solutions with errors in them. Instructions were built in to the file that asked students to identify if the solution had an error or not, and if an error existed they were to record themselves fixing the error.

After using this for quick checks last year I decided to make it a full peer editing lesson this year in my Function class (3U).

Students grab the pre made EE file from a shared folder in Google Drive, watch videos of solutions to the previous day’s content, decide which, or if any have errors, then fix them. After recording their new solution right in the EE file they can play their new solution for the whole class to see via Apple TV or upload the EE file to our shared Google Drive folder for peers to download, view and critique.


Since we are always exporting as an .xpl file students will import those same files and then be able to edit/critique (record) over top of the existing work.

It was awesome to see students recognize common mistakes and yell out “nope that’s wrong!” Or “I think that one’s OK”. It was equally great to see them watch eachothers “new” solutions and critique them the same way they critiqued mine.

Definitely a type of lesson I’ll repeat, probably on next review day.

Read more awesome ways to use EE.

Kyle Pearce’s —- Explain Everything Math Learning Journey 1 & 2

MathyCathy’s —- Hands On Digital Puzzles

Explain Everything….more than a screen recorder

I’ve been loving the app Explain Everything more and more! Yes it’s great because when students record their work it forces them to think more about language and ideas than they are used to. I like that! That is what drew me to the app in the first place. But I’ve been loving it even more….. I’ve been using it lately NOT to record work. I’ve been using it to deliver content to students in a new way. We can use the app as a sort of enhanced digital workspace! Here is an example: 20140523-111859-40739536.jpg

Click the picture to download the Explain Everything file

I created this for my lesson on periodic functions. Here is why this is awesome……

Continue reading

Instantaneously Awesome!

So check this out!
Our lesson in Advanced Functions is “I should be able to determine the instantaneous rate of change of a function at a particular instant.”

Here’s what went down….

We began by grabbing an Explain Everything file from our Google Drive.


We watched Dan run!
After watching his run I asked… “Draw a prediction in the file of his Elevation Vs. time”


We used AppleTV to share our graphs…..brave students shot their graph up for display and for everyone to judge! Students were asked to support their prediction.

We then moved to the next slide….. And saw a Desmos graph of mimicking most of the student predictions.


Students were then asked to use the secant line on the desmos graph to:
1. Find the average rate of change between 2 seconds and 10 seconds.
2. Estimate the instantaneous rate at exactly 2 seconds….by manipulating the points.


After a consensus on what everyone thought was the instantaneous rate…and a discussion on what that means….we moved to the next slide to verify our result by looking at the tangent line at 2 seconds.

Lastly, we verified those results by calculating the instantaneous rate at 2 seconds using algebra!

Overall it was a pretty we’ll received lesson!
Any thoughts/feedback?