David Wees's blog

Using Angry Birds as a Context for Quadratic functions

One of the teachers I work with used Angry Birds as a context for learning about quadratic functions. Whenever they wanted to introduce a new topic, they referred back to the context of Angry Birds so as to give students a representation of quadratics with which the students may be familiar.

Let's see what that could look like. Here's one angry bird shot.


Here's the data from the shot above inputted into Geogebra.

Six things about math education which do not work

There are six things (at least!) about mathematics education which do not work:

[Three Acts] Stopping Distance Makeover

Act One

Show this video. Ask students what questions they have. 


Act Two


I have for some time now been subscribed to too many sources of information. As part of my transition to a new job, I have been culling various items in my feed. This is based largely on the fact that my role as an educational technologist is greatly diminished and I have less need to know about such a wide variety of tools. My focus will be much more on mathematics education, and while I think there is a role for technology to play, I think the number of tools which have potential use is much smaller.

The Faulty Logic of Disrupting Class

I am reading Disrupting class, by Clay Christensen, Michael Horn, and Curtis Johnson. In the introduction of Disrupting Class, Clay Christensen, et al., give six possible reasons for why the United States education system does not appear to be doing well when compared with other OECD countries:

Introducing vocabulary in a digital book

Example from Complex Variables textbook

(Source: Complex Variables with Applications, Second Edition, A. David Wunsch)


Algebra with words, symbols or a computer

"If some one say: "You divide ten into two parts: multiply the one by itself; it will be equal to the other taken eighty-one times." Computation: You say, ten less thing, multiplied by itself, is a hundred plus a square less twenty things, and this is equal to eighty-one things. Separate the twenty things from a hundred and a square, and add them to eighty-one. It will then be a hundred plus a square, which is equal to a hundred and one roots. Halve the roots; the moiety is fifty and a half.

Negative attitudes about math

Attitudes about math


No one is born hating math. Our attitudes about it, positive or negative, are a result of our culture, our interactions with math, our experiences with other people while doing math, and the messages we see daily about mathematics.

What can we do as teachers, and as parents, to address negative stereotypes about mathematics?

Reflection on How to Learn Math: User interface matters

I'm participating in Dr. Jo Boaler's course "How to learn mathematics" which started two days ago. Here are my observations so far:

What evidence convinces teachers to change practices?

Research, by itself, rarely changes teacher practices. Presentations on why their practices should change rarely change teacher practices. Attending conferences rarely changes teacher practices (a teacher may adopt a few new things from a conference, but how often has a teacher come back from a conference and begun to teach in a completely new way?).

What does change teacher practice?


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