Category: College Algebra

Funky function notation

At the UMD faculty workshop, one of the participants had an idea for using an Animoto video.  She suggested it might be a good way to break up a long lecture time.  This got me thinking about short lessons (like the CommonCraft videos).  Just because the video is short, it doesn’t mean it’s not effective. I thought I would try out a short video of my own using Animoto.  This one is called “What is function notation?”  If the video doesn’t load for you, go directly to the site here or see the YouTube rendition here.  Either video can be embedded if you’d like to use them in a course shell. You might be interested in the process I used to build this.  For Animoto, you need a file folder with image files.  First, I created a deck of 75 PowerPoint slides (those being relatively easy to edit).  Then I printed from PowerPoint to SnagIt (because of a special SnagIt save option). Then I saved the SnagIt file as jpg files, where each slide is saved as an individual image file. This gave me a folder of all the slides, but with each slide saved as an image. I then uploaded the 75 images into Animoto and made sure they were in the proper order (for some reason the last slide fell first and had to be moved back...

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Common Craft Explains Finance

CommonCraft has three new videos about math (well, technically financial math). I wonder if they’ll tackle the Gaussian Copula Function next? Saving Money in Plain English Investing Money in Plain English Borrowing Money in Plain English Possibly Related Posts: Learning at Scale Slides from ICTCM Elaborations for Creative Thinking in STEM Learning Math is Not a Spectator Sport Recorded Webinar: Teaching Math in 2020 AMATYC Keynote Notes: Challenge and...

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Fibonacci Sequence in Siftables

“We’re on the cusp of this new generation of tools for interacting with digital media that are going to bring information into our world on our terms.” – David Merrill Jump to 2:20 to see the math example of a Fibonacci sequence in this TED Talk called Siftables.   Possibly Related Posts: Learning at Scale Slides from ICTCM Elaborations for Creative Thinking in STEM Learning Math is Not a Spectator Sport Recorded Webinar: Teaching Math in 2020 AMATYC Keynote Notes: Challenge and...

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Teaching Math with Clickers

Today’s guest blogger is Derek Bruff, Assistant Director for the Center for Teaching at Vanderbilt University. Derek writes a blog you may have stumbled across called Teaching with Classroom Response Systems. Here’s a question I ask the students in my probability and statistics course: Your sister-in-law calls to say that she’s having twins. Which of the following is more likely? (Assume that she’s not having identical twins.) A. Twin boysB. Twin girlsC. One boy and one girlD. All are equally likely Since I ask this question using a classroom response system, each of my students is able to submit his or her response to the question using a handheld device called a clicker. The clickers beam the students’ responses via radio frequencies to a receiver attached to my classroom computer. Software on the computer generates a histogram that shows the distribution of student responses. I first ask my students to respond to the question individually, without discussing it. Usually, the histogram shows me that most of the students answered incorrectly, which tells me that the question is one worth asking. I then ask my students to discuss the question in pairs or small groups, then submit their (possibly different) answers again using their clickers. This generates a buzz in the classroom as students discuss and debate the answer choices with their peers. After the second “vote,” the histogram usually...

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Interesting Results with MathTV

Todays guest blogger is Pat McKeague, author of several textbooks and the mastermind behind the site Hello, I’m Pat McKeague, and I’m filling in for Maria today. I have created a website called where my students and I post videos on mathematics from basic math through calculus. I’m the first one on the left. One interesting observation is that my students have become better math students by making these videos. The other surprising thing is that they love their jobs. All of us that teach know that we understand a topic better after we have taught it. I know that I never really understood calculus until I taught it two or three times. So it makes sense that my students would become better math students after presenting topics on video. In all cases, they are presenting material from classes they have already passed. Even so, they are better at the mathematics in the classes they are taking now. The stronger their foundation in basic skills, the better they are at advanced topics. They have strengthened their foundation by making these videos. The students are paid to make these videos. It is a regular part-time job for them. I have always had trouble getting them to read the book before they come to class. But in their jobs, they don’t mind at all They want to make good...

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