Sunday, March 30, 2014

Goto! Hurry, run, don't walk!

Recently, I received an email from DonorsChoose about a Google Challenge for my students on Codecademy! Kindly allow me to explain:

(1) DonorsChoose is like KickStarter for teachers. You can propose a project for your classroom, say some new textbooks. Then anyone who likes your project can come along and donate to your cause. When you make a teacher account on DonorsChoose, you start with 2 points worth $1000 each to select items from their vendors. DonorsChoose has several school materials vendors, but recently added Amazon so you can get just about anything you need! If your project is funded, you can get your points back plus 1 more if you send out a thank you package to each of your donors.

(2) Codecademy is an online school of sorts. It has tons of free courses for students to learn programming. This challenge has the students complete a short introduction to Computer Science learning JavaScript,

(3) Google is offering $100 gift cards for DonorsChoose to female students that complete the Codecademy course. I get an extra $500 bonus gift card for each group of 4 students that complete the online course. The challenge encourages girls to learn Computer Science.

I'm trying to raise the money to get a class set of TI Nspire CX CAS Graphing Calculators as described below.

Please contribute to my project (text below). If you want to donate, go the link below and use promo code 100WOMEN to double your donation!

My Students: Everyday, in Calculus class, the first thing we do is take out our homework, notebook, textbook and calculator. Many questions can be done analytically and verbally. However, the graphing calculator has become a focal point in class since many problems now require a graphical and numerical approach.
I have been teaching Calculus to gifted students at my High School every year since 1993. Many of my students take the AP Calculus BC exam each May and do very well. As a result, some of my students go on to major in Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics at some of our nation's top Ivy League and Technical Colleges.
I try to keep in touch with my students after graduation to see what professional and career goals they may have met over the years. I am happy to report that I have found that some of my students have gone on to become teachers, professors, engineers, doctors and scientists in their own right.
I am very proud of my students, I am privileged to be their teacher and I have been blessed with the opportunity to help them fulfill their dreams.
This project is all about helping my students succeed in my class, in their college majors and in their chosen professions or careers to the best of my ability and to the best of their ability. Will you please help?
My Project: For as long as I can remember, we've been using the TI-89 Graphing Calculator. This calculator was state of the art in the early 1990s, but now it's time for a change!
The TI Nspire CX CAS is a more modern graphing calculator with several advantages:
The Nspire has a high resolution color screen making our graphs much easier to view, manipulate, color code, and label. Both the 89 and the Nspire include a Computer Algebra Systems aka CAS. This means that they can actually handle Algebra and Calculus expressions symbolically. However, the Nspire has many more such functions available. These calculators are actually programmable computers. The 89 uses a form of BASIC combined with graphing and CAS functions. The Nspire also has a new language called LUA which is perfect for GUI programming on the calculator. The Nspire is a lot like a laptop PC in that it has an operating system, file directories and several apps. Using these apps, we can save our work as documents.
The best technology for teaching and learning Calculus is a PC or Tablet running a CAS. However, the TI Nspire CX CAS has many of the same features. Also, since the AP Calculus exam requires the use of a Graphing Calculator, using the Nspire will give us access to the best of both worlds. We can still solve problems numerically and graphically. However, now we can check all our work Algebraically as well. With the Nspire I will be able to prepare my students for the AP exam and for college too! 

A. Jorge Garcia

Generally Speaking,

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