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Day One!

Well, I set a student’s desk on fire in Chemistry (…intentionally!), and in 8th grade Physical Science we made paper airplanes.  I wish I’d had the wherewithal to take a photo of said airplanes, but my mind was elsewhere!

The airplanes were actually my best idea for the day. I tried to give the students as few “hints” as possible to get them used to an inquiry approach.  I told them that my rules were to be safe and to measure distance and speed on their trials, and I mostly let them work it out from there.  They got a little stuck when I told them we didn’t have any speedometers in the science lab (I’m sure they meant radar guns, but we don’t have any of those either), but eventually they asked for stopwatches, which we have!

I’ve decided to go with Google Classroom instead of Edmodo, and I love it!  Since we use google docs as a school and the kids all have a school google account, it seems to be a perfect fit.  I am so looking forward to day two!


Welcome to Science!

IMG_20130625_163713_569So, two weeks before the start of the school year, I accepted the high school science position at my school.  After two years of teaching special education, I will be in charge of the 8th-12th grade science classes.

In two days, I will be teaching:

  • 8th grade physical science (mix of physics and chemistry)
  • Biology I
  • Chemistry
  • Earth and Space Science
  • Biology II

My plan is to implement Article of the Week, get things organized through Edmodo, and keep it as interesting as I can.  I’ll keep you posted!

Divisibility rules: Your best friend when reducing fractions

So, we seem to be struggling with remembering the divisibility rules.  For the record, they are:

  1. Everything. All the time.
  2. Digit in the ones place is a 0, 2, 4, 6, or 8.
  3. The sum of the digits is divisible by three.
  4. Last two digits are divisible by four.
  5. Digit in the ones place is a 5 or a 0.
  6. Both 2 and 3 are factors
  7. Don’t worry about it.
  8. Last three digits are divisible by 8.  On second hand, don’t worry about it.
  9. The sum of the digits is divisible by nine.
  10. Digit in the ones place is a 0.

Here’s the reason why you should memorize these rules.  1) They make it a lot easier to do a lot of math.  If you can look at a number and tell what it’s divisible by, that’s the first step to solving a lot of problems.  2) Once you learn these, your brain will be faster than using a calculator.  Again, we’re trying to work smarter, not harder.  3) Math is awesome.  These rules are really cool and interesting.  I mean seriously, we could talk about the unique application of these rules to base-10 systems for a whole class if not more.  Then, even more classes on deriving new divisibility rules for other numerical systems – binary, hexadecimal….

Ok.  Let’s get it back on the rails.

Here are Helton’s free-form tips for learning these rules.  Try one.  Try them all.  Get a TicTacToe. Enjoy!