Enrichment Resources for Math

When I work with advanced or talented and gifted students, I recommend that enrichment be used to “go wide, not deep.” The point is not to simply move the students vertically, but challenge them to go deeper with current content or use critical thinking activities.

Here is an online resource of problems from the Paul ErdÅ‘s International Math Challenge that will indeed challenge almost any student (check the problem below for 3rd and 4th graders).

Here is another online resource of problems from the Art of Problem Solving (AoPS). The link is to a search posts that address practice problems related to the American Mathematics Competition for 8, 10, 12. Below is an AMC 8 practice problem.

Reading Scatterplots with Ford Mustangs

One step in reading and analyzing scatterplots is simply identifying what the dots on the graph represent. Students who do not understand the meaning of the points, including the position, will struggle to interpret the graph. This post outlines a Jamboard activity to support interpretation of the points.

Overview

I present the scatterplot of used Ford Mustangs on a Jamboard (image above) with ads for two used Mustangs along with a cutout of each car. The cutouts are used to help the students understand the reasoning behind the position of each point. Here is a FB Reel and a YouTube video showing how the Jamboard can be used. To access the Jamboard, you must make a copy. See image at bottom of post.

Steps

First, I take the cutout of the first car and “drive it” along the x-axis (top 3 photos in gallery below). This helps them understand the horizontal axis placement. Then I move the car up to the appropriate price (bottom row left). Finally, I replace the car cutout with the bigger blue dot that was placed by the ad with the car. We then discuss that a dot can be used to represent that car and the location on the scatterplot is based on the two values in the ordered pair (which can be typed into the ( , ) in the Jamboard next to each car.

The same steps are used for the other Mustang (see it “driving” along the x-axis below).

The next step would be to identify additional points on the scatterplot. I then revisit driving the cars and show that driving the car more miles results in a lower price and driving the car less miles results in a higher price.

Finally, we discuss that this is a general trend but that it is not always true for each car. I highlight a couple points where one of the cars has more miles and a higher price (below). This leads into a discussion about additional factors influencing price.

Complementary Activity

An related I have used is having students create their own scatterplot for mileage and price of used cars. They shop on Carmax.com. This allows them experience the scatterplot from a data and context point of view.

Make a copy to access Jamboard.

Application for Trigonometry

screenshot-2017-02-15-at-7-39-12-am

Making math meaningful and maybe interesting is a challenge. The photo above refers to a real life application for triangles and trigonometry (see photo below) that is found in a news story about Russian jets and a US destroyer. The jet was flying at an altitude of 100 yards and within 200 yards of the destroyer. Topics that could be addressed:

  • Altitude (and perpendicular)
  • Pythogorean Theorem
  • Trigonometry: e.g. find angle of elevation or depression
  • Vectors (include velocities)

A relevant, real life application is a method to make information meaningful. When talking about the altitude of a triangle (the up and down part shown in the photo below) the vocabulary term of altitude becomes more meaningful both in terms of context and with the visual below.

screenshot-2017-02-15-at-9-20-29-am

Here is the agenda I would follow to use this application as an activity.

  1. I would show the video (show on the webpage linked at bottom of handout) and explain what a destroyer and the jets are.
  2. Discuss the situation with Russia (age appropriate discussion)
  3. Show the picture and ask the students to draw a sketch.
  4. Review the sketch and refer to the parts of the triangle in real life terms, e.g. altitude.
  5. Task the students with a problem related to this problem – create your own, e.g. find the angle of elevation or use Pythagorean Theorem to find length of missing side.