Gary Rockswold was a little too general for my taste with his talk on reality and mathematics. He has given me lots of practical examples for class through his RPI and his xMAP eras though. It was an interesting talk, just not directly applicable to my teaching in the short term.

James Cliber gave an overview of the mathematics of solar cells. You can make finding the current depend on up to 5 angles depending on what you want to hold constant and how complicated you want a project to be. Hour of the day, latitude, date (declension angle), angle between the array and horizontal, and angle of the array off due south are all factors. I might play with this the next time I teach pre-calculus instead of the sunlight hours per day project.



Georgia Gwinett College has a lot of projects they do in their QR. I have notes in a book that will go in the Pro D drawer. They also promised to put the PowerPoint in the proceedings.

I did think of one idea while they were talking. Get census data on all Michigan counties and do statitistical things with the data. It could included both raw percentages per county and weighted averages by population. This would be more of a fall 2018 project than a winter 2018 project at this point, however because I need to check its viability before even typing it up.

The next session is a Dana QR/co-req session. I mostly want to hear what people think. It will probably not be ICTCM #4.

One teacher approached me afterwards and answered a question I had about group projects. She suggested that I have students do an individual component before the group part starts. Then it is less likely that someone can do nothing. (Emphasis on less likely).



A session on the use of spreadsheets in QR classes had a little too much preamble for a 30 minute session. I’m attending an expanded session tomorrow and will link to the proceedings with the “super spreadsheet.” I couldn’t find the proceedings in a quick Google search.

There were some good ideas though. None work for my upcoming stat project perfectly. Some I had seen before:

  • Should I buy a Prius, or Focus? What factors impact,or could change the decision?
  • Look at mortality rates by age group- not cohort- current age in a year. Norm it so that all have the same starting value so you can see declines. Notice that you can see AIDS with the 25-44 group in the late 1980’s- the general slow, overall decline is disappears. (You need to renorm because the 80+ group dies at such a high rate that all the other age groups are smooshed together.)
  • You can look at birth rates per 1000  for different age groups. Comparing perecents of births in age group and percent of total births by age group is interesting since only one is appropriately a pie chart.



So far I have attended the general session and the vendor/poster session area.

I met with a presenter who studied which tools worked best for deaf students in math classes including online classes. I think I noticed that ASL videos was not highly correlated with grade while some quizzing tools like Kahoot, or the MyMathLAb integrated classroom quizzing seemed to impact grades. I have a QR code that should go to all the data. This is more of a something-to-remember as we may start to have more deaf students now that our ASL program is developed and growing.

The opening session was Dr. Christopher Emdin who spoke about integrating hooks in your lesson, your teaching personality, and even the classroom itself should make students feel more connected to mathematics. SB thought he might be a good speaker at our College. I agree. I did note that the pentecostal delivery included a we-are-all-sinners assumption that we all didn’t follow good practice that I found mildly grating. However, there were a few ideas that I am not doing that I think I could implement. It was a nice mix of practical and rah-rah for an opening session.

The Hamilton is a great music venue. About 400 seats and 200 standing room. E and I saw the first ever Hungarian Blues festival. For the size of the venue they had an embarrisingly good line up. Little G. Weevil, John Nemeth, John Popper of Blues Traveler and his key boardist were there. The Hungarian ambassador to the United States participated in a jam session/encore. He plays a great lead guitar- he even had a pretty good solo!

Finally, Lot #3 IPA from Evolution brewery is a mellow IPA. I’d like something  a little more distinctive, but it is a safe choice if you are at a bar. In full disclosure, however, when I went for second beer I switched to Yuenling.



Quizizz (careful to type the z’s in the right spot if my malware detector is right) is another classroom quizzing app. It can be run like Kahoot!, but the timers and scoring can be turned off. The questions also appear with the answer choices in the student app instead of projected. For this reason I see Quizizz useful for when I want groups to discuss and post answers. Or, I might also use it when I want to do a lot of quizzing and it is worth having all the students who don’t want to use their phone log into the classroom Chromebooks.

I was able to set up a three question quiz in about 10 minutes.

3 question quiz for Math 131
3 question quiz for Math 131

I could easily get superscripts and subscripts if I needed them and there are a few more math symbols under the menu labeled with a Euro symbol. It is not a full-featured math editor, but it is much stronger than those available at Plickers, or Polleverywhere the last time I looked. (It has been awhile – these two may have improved!)

It was easy to toggle of the stressful time and scoring options that caused me to move away from Kahoot!

Settings for a Quizizz quiz
Settings for a Quizizz quiz

The students take the quiz either in a browser, or via a phone app. The app was easy to use. Students type an instructor provided code, enter a display name, and then just select answers. They can get instant feedback about whether they are right. Mildly snarky and famous internet memes can also be part of the feedback.

When everyone is done I can see question summaries and drill into the data to see which groups, or students made which error. So, we could discuss common errors on commonly missed questions as time allows. I did not investigate the extent to which data can be saved, but the game I played showed up on a reports page which leads me to believe the data are saved for each test, but not easily aggregated across a semester as players/students are not formally logged in.

Discussion in the College Classroom


I have started to read Jay R. Howard’s Discussion in the College Classroom based on a recommendation from a speaker at our school. The second chapter is where the serious content and suggestions begin. The chapter focuses on moving students from civil attention- being polite, but not necessarily more than that- to active participation. Like many discussions of this type veteran practitioners are already doing much of it so I am just going to list the things I found interesting. Not all of them are central to the theme. This is not a full summary of the chapter.

  1. He recommends card stock for name tags if you use that to help you learn names. This is kind of an obvious improvement on my folded paper. I’ll probably invest in some for future semesters.
  2. There is a reminder to ask “How?” rather than “What?” and to give students time to reflect if you want more participants. I do this, but it is good to be reminded of from time to time.
  3. He gave a witty response to the “student as customer” trope. He says if the student is a customer then the teacher is a physical trainer. Would a customer accept a physical trainer that does not make them work hard?
  4. In think-pair-share activities maybe ask folks if their partner said something worthwhile. Then the first volunteer can start the discussion just by picking someone else. You don’t pick on the person who has to give the substantial information. And the person who does give the information is slightly lauded before speaking. This was the most useful idea from the chapter for me.

Latex and WordPress.org


Hack, hack, hack.

OK. I used mark up of latex and /latex enclosed in brackets instead of the $ a web search indicated.

I could not make the background be white instead of gray so I changed themes to one where it shows up as white by default.

I guess it works. See: https://morford.info/2018/01/22/math-131-january-24-2/ for instance. And changing themes every couple years is like rearranging a room. It doesn’t improve content much, but feels productive.

This is probably supposed to work better than that.

I am using Wiris to get the code to go between the Latex tags.