Fall Equinox 2020

Tuesday, September 22, 2020 at 13:30 UTC (which is the same as 9:30 am EST), will be the Autumnal Equinox.  It is the time of year when the imaginary plane that passes through the Earth's Equator would also travel through the center of the Sun.  At this auspicious moment the number of sunlight hours and night time hours are about the same over much of the Earth.  In the Northern Hemisphere we move into the Fall season.

Below is an Ecliptic animation from The Magic of Physics site.  Below is a screen shot of the applet. By clicking on the link, a new window will open and students, or the teacher using a projector, can change the position of the person on the globe and other variables to enjoy a discussion of this auspicious moment.

Seasons_and_Ecliptic_Simulator

Click on this image to go to the Magic of Physics Ecliptic and Seasons Simulator

We have three possible activities for you to use in your classrooms after playing with the Nebraska applet.

Viral growth – Talk like a Pirate Day

Saturday, September 19th is talk like a pirate day.

Bring some humor and marketing understanding to your students with this activity about a silly holiday that has had viral growth.

What happens when you tell 5 people and then each of those people tell 5 more people?  ...

If you share this post with one of our Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, or in any way, maybe we can make it go viral.

The activity: Talk-like-a-pirate-day.pdf

Extreme weather 2020

Denver on Sunday and then Tuesday.

Because of climate change, we've been having too many extreme weather events. There have been unusual droughts and heat in the West, an increased number of hurricanes, severe flooding, and high winds throughout the midwest.

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 many gumballs are there?

Gumball Machine Problem from Brian Marks on Vimeo

This problem is a little puzzle to get your students thinking, estimating, and calculating. We've given you a pdf file with only a picture of the gumball machine to use for estimating.

  • How many gumballs are there?
  • At $0.25 per ball, how much will it cost me to buy them all?
  • How long will buying them all take?

NBA Finals 2020

Basketball is back, being played in the "bubble" in Orlando Florida.  Teams are competing in the playoffs and the NBA Finals are right around the corner.  Let's do a little sports history and data analysis through the context of NBA Finals math!  In this activity students consider scatter plots, circle graphs, bar graphs, Venn Diagrams and the concept of mean.

To start the activity check out the Infographic below.  What do you notice?  What does it make you think?  What questions do you have? How does the average age of  NBA champion teams compare to the league's average team age?  How can we use this information to help us predict future NBA champs?

Infographic created by Paul Van Slembrouck, @ptvan at paulvanslembrouck.com Original data compiled by Idris Raja.

Continue exploring NBA championship data in our handout by exploring the dominance of a select few teams in NBA history.  Students work the data, data representations and statistics.  For which kind of observations are circle graphs or bar graphs most useful?  Who has won the most NBA titles NBA history?  Lots of math!

Labor Day 2020

What is this holiday about?  Are we celebrating the start of school?  New cars? The end of summer?

In this short activity, students learn about the intended meaning of Labor Day as they read about its origin. For the mathematical part, they look for patterns in the history of Labor Day dates. Students then use those observed patterns to predict future dates of the holiday.