Category Archives: Problem Solving

Ethan Hall, teacher and web entrepreneur from Israel, emailed me this morning asking me to check out his visual patterns generator on There’s a lot of cool graphing tools other than the VP generator. I’m kinda blown away. Go play! Go do math!

Also posted in Algebra, Course 1 (6th Grade Math), General, Geometry, Math 8 | Tagged , , | 6 Responses

Joint Investment

Would you have known immediately that the number 1729 is the sum of two cubes? You think you’re so smart, but you’re no Ramanujan. He told Hardy that 1729 is the sum of two cubes in two ways: 13+123 and 93+103. I read The Man Who Knew Infinity a few years ago. I might check out the movie when it hits […]

Also posted in Math 8 | Tagged , , , , | 1 Response

Giving Feedback with a Highlighter

I attended John Scammell’s excellent 3-morning sessions on Formative Assessment at #TMC15. We were asked to share strategies that we may already be doing to give students feedback . I shared about how I used highlighters for this. I promised my group that I would write a short post about it, but I waited until now since I […]

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A Book: Thinking Mathematically

I’m re-reading Thinking Mathematically, an assigned book from a math course I took years ago in Portland. I was teaching science at the time but signed up anyway because I’ve always loved math. Thinking is still so good and resonates much more now that I’ve been teaching mathematics. In the Introduction, under “How to use this […]

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A Tale of Two Gyms

Quick post about a scenario that I was sharing with the kids just to share and how they just took off with it. A brand spanking new 24-Hour Fitness is opening up near me. It’s a no-brainer to switch over to this facility because I’ll save gas and travel time. However, the 2-year membership [from Costco] will cost […]

Also posted in General | Tagged , , | 2 Responses

Driving Them Nuts

I’m proud of my students. I’m proud of what we do in room 15. My classroom. My home away from home for the last 11 years. These bopping teenagers, sullen one minute bubbly the next, hormonal but invincible. They don’t all love math like I do. (Not everyone loves college football, but we get along.) What is happening […]

Also posted in Geometry, Teaching | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 10 Responses

A Simpler Solution

I’m guessing this was about 5 years ago. I was at an all-day workshop when a high school math teacher, sitting next to me, asked about the PoW (from that I had assigned to my students. I happened to have an extra copy in my backpack and gave it to her. Dad’s Cookies [Problem #2959] Dad bakes some […]

Posted in Problem Solving | Tagged , , , , , | 8 Responses

Hotel Snap

[NCTM Illuminations has my blessings and thanks to re-write and feature this lesson on their site.] Andrew Stadel and I recently presented this task at the 2013 CMC‘s North and South Conferences. The Challenge As a team, build a hotel that yields the highest profit [score]. Rules and guidelines for building the hotel Each cube represents a […]

Also posted in Algebra, Course 1 (6th Grade Math), Geometry | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 9 Responses

Deconstructing a Lesson Activity – Part 2

Previously: Deconstructing a Lesson Activity – Part 1 No matter what I write in this Part 2, I hope it’s not a wrap-up of this topic. On the contrary, I hope it opens up and extends our conversations on improving the implementation of rich tasks in our classrooms. Physical arrangements, whiteboards, groupings. The student desks are […]

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Deconstructing a Lesson Activity – Part 1

[I’ve decided to break this post into two parts because I don’t want to bore and/or discourage you, and I need to take a breather. These two posts in particular are truly my labor of love because if there’s one thing that I find myself proficient at implementing in the classroom it is problem solving. […]

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