Sunday, October 9, 2011

Summer School Projects Become School Year Projects!

If you take a look at this postyou'll find an ambitious list of Summer projects. However, these projects have taken a life of their own. As these projects relate to courses I'm teaching this year, I think I'll make them year-long projects instead! 

Each project is ultimately related to a course I am teaching this year. My schedule this year is insane! I have 2 sections of preCalculus for Seniors and 1 section of AP Calculus BC plus 1 section of Calculus Research Lab every other day. In addition to this, I have 1 section of Computer Math and 1 section of AP Computer Science. After school, I meet once every other week with my Computing Independent Study class as well!

I will go nuts unless I think of these preps as 3 Math: preCalculus, Calculus BC, Calculus Research Lab; and 3 Computer: Computer Math, Computer Science A, Computing Independent Study. Organizing myself like this, I feel as if I only have 2 preps! This way of organizing my day comes in handy for Youtube Wednesdays. During my math preps I'll show one video and during my computer preps I'll show a different video. This way students that take both preps, of which I usually have at least a few, don't get bored! In fact, this is a bit atificial, as Computing Independent Study is after school and does not do Youtube Wednesdays. Also, some of the Math classes have aspects of Computing and some of the Computing classes have math content too! So, I think I'll break up my day as 2xpreCalc+Calculus for my math prep and Computer Math+Computer Science+Calculus Research Lab for computing prep.

So, what follows basically amounts to a "note to self." What else is new, this whole blog is just one big memory dump for me! It's a great resource as my memory is so bad....

preCalculus for Seniors (Math 4R-12) and EBay:
I'm updating my TechBooks for preCalculus. I reorganized them last year and added a ton of screencasts (TechBook Lessons or TBLs). I rewrote a lot of my TechBook Questions (Tests and Quizes or TBQs). Now, I have to finish my TechBook Solutions (solutions to all the Tests and Quizes or TBSs). Once, I get all this done, I'll have a new addition for EBay! I have TBQs and TBSs for my summer courses (College Algebra and Harvard preCalculus). I also have TBqs, TBSs and TBLs for my summer classes on Harvard Calculus I and Hardvard Calculus II in addition to my High School AP Calculus BC. Take a look at my EBay offerings on the sidebar to this blog.

AP Calculus BC (Math 5HBC) Improvement Plan:
Last year we started Multiple Choice Mondays to improve AP Calculus BC results. This went on for 20 weeks before AP week. The first week I gave a Part IA or Part IB and the second week I'd go over the test. We repeated this 10 times and had lots of MCQ practice. My students did better last year on the MCQs as a result. This year we started to offer a new course, Calculus Research Lab. This class is open to both AP Calculus AB and BC students who want to practice key Calculus concepts. We meet every other day in addition to regular Calculus class like a science lab. We approach the concepts of limits, derivatives, integrals and differential equations from a new prespective: Scientific Computing. We use an online Computer Algebra System at to investigate problems Graphically, Analytically and Numerically. We do this in class with TI-89s, but SAGE is so much more powerful. I think that PC based computing of this magnitude is the future of STEM education even in High School. Some colleges, especially engineering schools, do something similar with Mathematica, Maple or MATHLAB. SAGE is just as powerful but it is also FLOSS (Free Linux Open Source Software) too!

Calculus Research Lab (CRL) and SAGE:
As mentioned above, I'm using SAGE a lot more this year in all my classes, not just in CRL. I use SAGE exclusively in Computer Math and Calculus Research Lab. I will probably do a final project in AP Calculus BC and AP Computer Science relating to SAGE. I try to use it occasionally in preCalculus and AP Calculus BC. However, I can do so only in limited fashion as these students will likely need to know how to use Graphing Calculators next year, not to mention on the AP exams or final. 

Computer Math (CM) and SAGE:
Again, we are using SAGE exclusively in CM. I literally taught CM or something similar using BASIC from the 1975-1976 school year to 2009-2010 school year. We switched to SAGE and python last school year (2010-2011) and got a new textbook too. Take a look,

AP Computer Science (APCS) and YouTube:
It is APCS's turn to screencast. All my screencasts on are from my math classes. It's finally time to screencast APCS from Linux!

Computing Independent Study (CIS) and openMPI:
My Computing Independent Study students are off to a great start. We already reinstalled the whole PC Lab with Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal 64bit. Now we have to get openMPI up and running. Then we'll look at some number crunching and POVRAY or Blender!

Final Projects and Android SDK:
Final projects this year will involve the Android DSK and Eclipse under Linux for APCS. My math classes can play with SAGE. Computer Math will look at programming the TI-83.

Edmodo with Youtube, Slideshare, Pastebin and SAGE:
I started using Edmodo last year to share files with my students. Edmodo is very easy to use as its just like Facebook but its secure and private. I started hosting files on Slideshare (SmartNotes as pdfs), Pastebin (java code in text files), SAGE (python code for CM and CRL) as well as youtube (screencasts) anyday I have something new. Then I link these files to my Edmodo pages for each class. I've also been linking these files to my blog once a week for a weekly summary! I have found this a very convenient way to share files with all my students. I used to do this with an ftp site, but my math students never caught on, only my computer students appreciated sharing files that way. BTW, there's an app for that! Both the iTunes and the Droid markets have an app for Edmodo too! 

I hope that these projects inspire you to come up with some of your own! What do ya 

Teaching with Technology, 


  1. Hello Sir,
    My name is Olaopa Joey.I live in Africa and i've recently been following your class as a listener on youtube(every single lab exercise).I've always wanted to be able to read the lab questions to see what you are reading out loud on the scrrencast.I finally just joined ur class on edmundo,as a listener.Hope to complete the APCS.Thank you sir for all this educational resources may God bless you.I too will teach these lessons to my pairs here at home.Have a nice day.

  2. Hello Olaopa Joey! I'm glad you enjoy my posts. Sorry, I cannot post the exercise questions on YouTube as they are copyrighted by the author of our textbook. Also, my labs are like tests, so I don't post labs anywhere online. I hope you can get alot out of my blogspot and youtube posts! Just curious, how did you find my edmodo page? I did not think anyone could join without a pass code.

  3. As i practiced along with the screencasts,i saw a demo of you accessing Edmodo and did the same.