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Off-Road Algebra: Using off road motorcycling videos to learn Algebra

What it is: Off Road Algebra is a series of video resources focused on pre-algebra and algebra for ninth grade.  This Hot Chalk  unit centers around off-road motorcycle racing.  There are 30 related problems for off-road algebra, each with an accompanying digital resources. Problem 1: Conversion between gallons and liters Problem 2: Miles per gallon Problem 3: Gallons per mile Problem 4: Velocity x time = distance, Part 1 Problem 5: Velocity x time = distance Part 2 Problem 6 (not available) Problem 7: Comparing decibels Problem 8: (not available) Problem 9: Slopes and Ramps, Part 1 Problem 10: Slopes and Ramps, Part 2 Problem 11: Playing catch up, Part 1 Problem 12: Playing catch up, Part 2 Problem 13: GPS Axis Problem 14: GPS conversion Problem 15: GPS distance Problem 16: Mixing Gas and Oil Problem 17: Margin of Victory Problem 18: Lap Time Math Problem 19: Trac Turn Angles Problem 20: Number of Revolutions Problem 21: Inside and Outside a Wheel Problem 22: Choosing between mean and median Problem 23: Cylinder Volume Problem 24: Comparing the Volume Problem 25: Graphing the Ride Problem 26: Acceleration, Part 1 Problem 27: Acceleration, Part 2 Problem 28: Acceleration, Part 3 Problem 29: Calculating with the contact patch Problem 30: Tire Aspect Ratio How to integrate Off-Road Algebra into the classroom: If you have spent any time in a math classroom, I’m sure you have heard something to the effect of, “why would we ever need this in real life?”.  It is a good question.  Learning should look like life…after all, isn’t that the point?  Off-Road Algebra helps students understand how the concepts they are learning in algebra are related to life through the world of off-road motorcycles.  Math is more than just filling in the correct answer on a test. Math is everywhere and we need to help students see that. These videos walk students through off-road motorcycling problems so that they can make the connections between the classroom and life beyond the classroom.  There is a printable PDF that you can download that has thorough explanations and answers for all 30 problems. You can also find a correlation between the math problems and standards. Use these videos with your whole class using a projector-connected computer or interactive whiteboard.  Video is ideal for math because it gives students the ability to pause, rewind and replay as needed.  Using an IWB with built-in IWB software, students can annotate over the desktop to solve equations as the video plays. The videos are a great alternative to the standard math textbook, offering video explanations of how to solve a variety of problems.  Students can use these to support work in the classroom or at home.  The videos could make a quick-stop center activity in the one or two computer classroom. Tips: Be sure to check out Hot Chalks other real-world math problems. Please leave a comment and share how you are using  Off Road Algebra  in your classroom!  

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Cost of NCLB Testing Info Graphic ($5.3 billion is TOO high)

Posted by admin | Posted in Download, education reform, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, professional development, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources | Posted on 21-09-2010

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Lately I have been wondering about how much state testing costs us.  There are a lot of costs involved in standardized testing.  In addition to the cost of administering, grading, and recording the test, there are other less tangible costs such as the impact on learning.  Curious, I sent out a tweet asking if anyone had info on how much testing cost (I was coming up empty in a Google search).  A few of my PLN sent me a link to Stateline.org where I found this:

I knew the numbers would be high, but this is shocking. All of that money per state for testing.  I started wondering what else that money could have been used for and sent out another tweet, this time asking what one thing teachers would want in their classrooms if money was no object.  The info graphic above holds the results.

The info graphic is based on the following numbers (links to data sources):

iPod Touch 4 $229

iPad $499

Average cost of children’s books $21

Soccer ball $10

64 Count Box of Crayola Crayons $5

Exercise ball (to use as chair replacements) $20

Price/square foot for school addition $222

Paraprofessional Salary/year $26,000

Violin $340

I don’t know about you, but every one of those items above feels like a better use of money.

Image links: Pencils, Exercise ball, iPod Touch 4, iPad, Soccer Ball, Crayons, Violin

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Comments (16)

You should be able to get down to $200/sq ft on a school addition because I checked out some figures for the west coast and was able to get around $200/sq ft.

That is a very cool info graphic! Isn’t Pages brilliant? I love the way you unified it with frames, and added shadow to give it that stuck on the notice board look.

[…] iLearn Technology » Blog Archive » Cost of NCLB Testing Info … […]

I love that info-graphic. Nicely done. Startlingly depressing but makes a great point.

It is depressing!

Yes, I love Pages (obviously!!)

Even better! I got my info from link below of averages.

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by JackieGerstein Ed.D., Shelly S Terrell, David, Jenna Ream, Kim Kadeem and others. Kim Kadeem said: http://bit.ly/dkFlTC on iLearn Technology. NCLB in it's true form… what a waste of $ […]

The figures you present and the available options for spending the money is quite amazing and rather scary really. Now that people can see how much money is allocated to testing yearly, there might be more of a fuss created about the spending?

$5.3 BILLION?! Whew! It certainly seems that we are requiring schools to administer more and more tests and laying off more and more teachers and turning out more and more students without basic skills. How can that be?! NCLB is certainly far from perfect but what is a better way to do fair performance reviews for teachers? My kids have been lucky, they have had some very good teachers, a handful of phenomenal educators and a few duds. How do we get rid of the duds? Face it, there are plenty of people doing jobs they don’t enjoy and/or do not do well. In the business world, they are given performance reviews and, if not doing their job, let go. In my state it is nearly impossible to get rid of a bad teacher, especially because it takes a few years to see if the person is “cut out” for teaching, by then they are in. How about using some of that money for development? And help “bad” teachers get better or let them go?
Was development time/training one of your options in your survey of ways to spend the money? There has to be accountability, there has to be some kind of performance review, but is testing students the way to do it? Seems like there must be a better way.

Contrary to what many believe, getting rid of bad teachers is not difficult – including ones that are “tenured.” To do this, administrators, mostly building principals, must make many observations and document their findings. This is usually what is not done on a regular basis. I’ve personally seen experienced teachers let go because of job performance. In addition, those “duds” you mentioned just might have been phenomenal teachers to other children. It’s ridiculous to judge a teacher on one standardized test. I certainly agree that students need to achieve, but there are just too many variables that impact how much and what the student learns. Many of these variables are out of the teacher’s control.

What makes a bad teacher? In my experience, every teacher I have worked with could be a bad teacher in one area, and a fantastic teacher in another. One could be good with parents, yet bad with kids. Another could be a fantastic coach, and a lacklustre participant in during staff meetings. A third may teach concise lessons, carefully planned, which no students care to engage in. What, in your estimation, besides presenting a danger to the students, makes a bad teacher?

I love your graphic so much I riffed on your idea and made my own graphic. It is ridiculous to judge a teacher OR a student by a statistic because you cannot measure knowledge with a number. NCLB depersonalizes learning and harms the teacher and the students and gives parents false information.

Thanks Tammy, saw your graphic and like the adaptation!

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