# Week 5 – Mind Blowing Math, Class Fines, and Chatty Cathy’s

We’ve come to the end of week 5.  It’s actually Friday morning but it’s a staff development day.  I really enjoy staff development days.  You don’t have to be ‘on.’  You just show up and try to engage yourself in the discussion.  It’s coming at the end of a fairly good week.

### MIND BLOWING MATH

In Pre-Algebra, we started exploring exponents.  We delved into powers of 1, 0, and negative exponents.  Power of 1 was easy enough; 31 = 3.  Seems just like multiplication.  30 though…is actualy 1.  3-1 is…1/3…whaaaaat?  Without going too much into it, HERE’S a video of someone explaining why it works; consider it your 2 minute math lesson of the day 🙂

I also started a class Instagram and got a video of some of the students having an ‘aha’ moment and figuring out the reasoning behind some of these exponent laws (seen on the right here).  Probably the best part of the week.

We watched a Vi Hart video where she basically broke down all of math to just +1’s.  It’s pretty fascinating.  “I think my mind just blew up a little bit” was one student’s comment.  She talks a bit fast in the video; students actually asked if we could watch it again at half speed.  I highly recommend you take a look, especially  if you don’t consider yourself a ‘math person’ 🙂

### CHATTY CATHY’S

I thought how I should have either waited for them to bring their post it up or had them have something to do when they finished.  I’m pretty good at masking my frustration; I’ve found I have more success with redirection when I’m calm and direct and not speaking out of emotion.  It makes the time I actually am frustrated carry a bit more weight.  Either way, I usually end up getting a headache at the end of a more stressful / frenetic sort of day (the kind where it hurts to have your eyes open) and it was one of the first one I had gotten this year.

I like to read fiction before bed but Sara usually ends up going to sleep before I do and is sensitive to light.  I was using my end table lamp which is a mild yellow light, but still filled the room a bit.  I ended up buying a reading light on Amazon only to realize it was practically like a flood light; it seemed brighter than the flashlight on my iPhone.  Perhaps having ‘MIGHTY BRIGHT’ in the name should of tipped me off.  Anyone have any experience with a dimmer reading light that attaches to your book?

##### By Thom H Gibson

I help middle school STEM teachers create meaningful & memorable experiences for their students. Teacher, podcaster, YouTuber. Two-time teacher of the year

### One Comment

• I do love using patterns to do a few things in mathematics: expinent laws, addition/subtraction of integers, multiplication of integers (sure there are more but can’t think of them on the spot). The nice thing here is yoy can give the lead over to the students in these cases provided the lesson is set up nicely and let them extend patterns on their own.
In regard to Vi Hart’s video, I actually use her views on logarithms to teach logarithms. Its more challenging at first, but students love it when it clicks. Much easier to work with fractional powers then!