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.



Reading Relationships – Literacy & Math

Friday last week was a PD day for us here in Chatham. We spent the day going over our OSSLT (Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test) results from last year and discussed how departments can make a difference. We came to a giant conclusion through the data that although OUR students could read…..they struggled with comprehension.

The OSSLT is a giant beast and most schools say “Literacy is a whole school issue.” I agree….but it can seem daunting to take on as a whole. Each of our departments decided to narrow their focus. Departments would choose a type of reading activity and incorporate that type into their lessons on a regular basis. We would own that type of reading assessment and use the data/results in June to see if we made a small difference.

In math we chose reading informational texts and answering multiple choice questions based on those readings.

Here is one sample lesson plan our math department created to do in our grade 9 & 10 classes.

Generate Curiosity

Show students this Estimation180 challenge.

How many pages in this book?

Day 99

Have them guess too high, too low, best guess (Grab Andrew’s tracking sheet)

And the answer.

I zoomed into the passage on the answer picture and asked students to read the passage silently to themselves and raise their hand when finished.

We discussed that different people read at different speeds. Students made sure to point out: “Just because I read slower doesn’t mean I understand less.” Connor wanted to go as far as saying that maybe if you read slower you will understand more.

These were great observations and I said let’s explore this more.

I had them guess how fast they read in words per minute. To help make this guess we counted up all the words in the passage above (51) and asked them if they thought it took a minute to read that passage. Some students agreed and predicted they read 50 words/min, some predicted much higher at 300 words/min. They all recorded ther prediction on their whiteboard.

Let’s discover our reading speed! We’ll explore the relationship between words read and the time taken.


Using the handout students predict what the relationship between time read and words read will look like.

Screen Shot 2015-10-28 at 6.21.46 PM

Finding our Speed

A great reading resource is the series  Critical Reading Series. 

Screen Shot 2015-10-28 at 6.34.54 PMAll articles are of appropriate length with questions that are of the same variety as the OSSLT. The key for us is the book also shows the number of words per article!!

I gave each student an article titled Jackie Chan Actor & Stuntman (1006 words) I also asked them to get out their phones to time how long it takes to read.

After reading, students are to answer questions based on the reading. We’ll take up and compare our score vs. Speed later.

They read, recorded their times and calculated words/min on the handout.

Explore the Relationship.

We used this rate to introduce direct variation. We filled out a table showing words in 1 min, 2 min, etc. We showed it was linear and introduced terms initial value, rate of change, and direct variation.

I stole parts of Kyle Pearce’s template for our task Flaps for this handout

Screen Shot 2015-10-28 at 6.30.34 PM

We went on to use our equation to answer the following…

Screen Shot 2015-10-28 at 6.33.21 PM

Lastly after students answered the follow up questions from the reading we graphed our reading speed vs. our score on the reading. We’ll repeat this lesson again and again, each time adding to this graph…..trying to see if Connor’s statement — “does reading slower result in better understanding?”  —  true or false.

Screen Shot 2015-10-28 at 6.38.23 PM

Run this lesson in your class:

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Proportion Explosion

Since we are spiralling the curriculum in grade 9 applied, my math task choice is getting very picky! I always want to uncover more that one expectation in a lesson/task! In this task we used volume of spheres, solving proportions, and properties of linear relations.

Act 1:

We took questions and wonderings and then settled on the problem of Let’s see that balloon explode and when is that going to happen?
We guessed and recorded the guesses on our whiteboard for future comparisons!

Act 2: What will we need!

There were good conversations on this piece! I’m always surprised by how much kids know! Someone asked for the rate of water!!!! Wowsers! I assumed I might have to dig to get them to ask for that one. They also wanted me to say how much a balloon will hold…..which is where I wanted to direct them first.

Info to give and record:

As always, I made them guess for it! After revealing 12 inches….we converted to centimeters. Next it was their turn to go ahead and find the volume of the balloon. I find it so valuable to have discussions on why use a sphere to model the volume? Will we be correct? Is it ok we’re wrong?

Volume of the sphere/balloon

Act 2: Rate of Water

This is where the kids got lost a bit! They weren’t sure how to use this part exactly after just finding the volume of the balloon.  I stepped in and used some direct instruction on how to set up the proportion. Handout prepared:


FullSizeRender 14


Act 3: The reveal

The extension is how we practiced solving a few proportions. We solved for the volume when the time was 10 seconds, 20 seconds, until kids saw the pattern.

10 seconds

10 seconds

After filling the table out, we found the first differences, discussed direct vs. partial linear relations!

Grab all the files to run in your class:

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