Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Math in Science

Before I decided to try this teaching-abroad thing, I used to work at a really great 6th-through-12th-grade public school that believes in teaching applied mathematics and sciences. They try to make everything hands-on and real for the kids. And I mean, everything! You would walk through the halls and see giant pulley setups, or see kids practicing pitching tents in preparation for their upcoming camping trip. In math classes, you see kids doing debates about tax policies and hosting probability game carnivals. (In fact, they are doubtlessly one of the best schools in NYC, and possibly one of the best schools around the country. They take in regular Bronx kids -- some of who can't read and have never done any math and many who come from broken homes -- and do magic to them; this year, 2010-2011, AMS will be having their first graduating class of seniors, and of the entire class of about 90 or so kids, only a handful is at risk of not graduating with their peers. The rest of them have passed their Regents and class requirements with flying colors.)

So, that's a long-winded way of explaining why I am always on the prawl for ways to integrate science into my math curriculum. (The science teachers at my current school sometimes make fun of me, because I am always going in and out of their classrooms and borrowing scales, beakers, thermometers, and whatnot. Some days they let me borrow their entire lab space, and those days are extra awesome!) One of the things I did somewhat recently is an RC circuit lab, to help the kids see that exponential data does occur naturally in physical space. They collected a bunch of data about charging and discharging capacitors and then did regression on their calculators to see that the exponential curve fits the data almost perfectly! Then, we ripped the equation apart to discuss every bit of it and how it related to the physical thing they saw.

Today, I spent some time looking at the skeletal lesson ideas at a NASA-sponsored site called PUMAS. Silly name, I guess, but they had some neat stuff. In particular, what I liked were:
...Anyway, these are just skeletal lesson ideas, so maybe they won't work well in the end, but I like them as raw ideas!


On an unrelated note, I finally went to the restaurant from Seinfeld yesterday! It's so funny that I had never been inside, even though I used to live four little blocks away on Broadway and 108th! The inside doesn't look like the show set, which was a bit disappointing, but the food was pretty decent for a diner! (Geoff was disappointed that I didn't order a Big Salad. heehee)

...And, in between looking at apartments, contacting realtors, following up on building regulations, and hanging out with family/friends, my boyfriend hasn't properly rested in days. :'( I can't wait until all of this madness is over and we get to finally, Finally be back at home, just the two of us. (That won't likely happen until end of August, if even.)

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