Canstruction

Act One:  Take a look at the pic. What questions come to mind?

Just before Thanksgiving there is an annual demonstration at the Winter Palace in the World Financial Center of New York City.   Canstruction is a celebration of design, of engineering, and of donating time, talent and food to the hungry. At the end of the exhibit all the amazing creations are dismantled and thousands of cans of food are given to hungry people via soup kitchens, food banks, shelters and senior homes.  Canstruction, Inc now has events in over 200 cities worldwide.

Here is a picture of an exhibit called "Downside Up" which was the winning exhibit from Canstruction, 2010, in New York City.

Act Two:  How many cans does it take to build this structure?  What information do you need to determine this?  How did you determine your solution? What else did you notice that is mathematical?

Going back to school

In this investigation students calculate the percentage of the U.S. population (current and historically) that are enrolled in K-12 schools. They are asked to draw conclusions from these variations. Finally, they use their calculations to predict the number of enrolled students in their own state.

A calculation of percent increase (or decrease) of earning power compared to education level is the final activity in this study.

Weather extremes

A shopping center located at Texas 80 near I-35 has high water in the parking lots from the Blanco River flooding in San Marcos,Texas, on Sunday, May 24, 2015. (Rodolfo Gonzalez/Austin American-Statesman via AP) AUSTIN CHRONICLE OUT, COMMUNITY IMPACT OUT, INTERNET AND TV MUST CREDIT PHOTOGRAPHER AND STATESMAN.COM, MAGS OUT

Flooding in San Marcos, Texas

This year has brought torrential rains to Texas after years of severe draught. February was the coldest month ever in much of the midwest and Northeast US.  Pakistan and India have experienced extreme and deadly heat waves.

Use the open number line and our lists of temperature extremes to make signed number operations and absolute value sensible.  Students compare record high and low temps (integers) and use absolute value in order to always find the positive difference.  Subtraction of negatives becomes obvious in this lesson.

How much does it cost to go back to school?

School-gear

Back to school spending is huge and students might not appreciate what it costs to send them back to, essentially, their job of learning.  In this activitiy students decide what equipment and supplies are necessary, estimate how much that will all cost, confer with groups or partners to refine their lists, and then research to find out more accurately how much it will probably cost to send them back to school.  This activity could be used for students in upper elementary school all the way to high school.  It offers an opportunity for kids to get estimating, researching, reasoning, calculating and communication skills honed for the coming year.

In the Cloud

Clouds
I want to find a way to keep my photos, documents, videos and music in a place that is safer than on my computer.  If my Macbook Air melts, where can I keep my irreplaceable files so that they aren't lost?

Should I buy some iCloud space?  I found that I could get 5GB of storage free at iCloud.  Is that enough for my files?  Should I instead buy 10, 20, or 50 GB?

At Flikr I can get 1 TB of space free.   What on Earth is a TB?  How should I save my files?

In this activity students learn about computer memory, KB, MB, GB and TB.  They compare four different cloud providers and estimate their own cloud storage needs.

Shooting stars coming soon, 2015

meteor-shower

Conditions will be favorable for excellent views of the Perseids meteor showers in early mid-August.  Let students read charts, analyze data, work with percent of moon visibility at each phase, and understand apparent magnitude in the night sky with this activity.  Can they wake up early for the show?  Motivate them.