March 3 – World Math Day


Human Calculator level on World Math Day competition!

Posted 9 years, 8 months ago at 4:52 pm.

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February 18 – Graveyard


Decomposition Graveyard at the CSU Environmental Learning Center. We stumbled upon this while walking around the ponds near school. I didn’t know that it takes 3-4 years for a banana to decompose!

I guess now is the time to tout the book I’m reading: The Big Necessity: The Unmentionable World of Human Waste and Why It Matters

You’ll be riveted. Trust me.

Posted 9 years, 9 months ago at 5:36 pm.

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February 9 – DNA


Past year’s DNA projects in the science classroom.

Posted 9 years, 9 months ago at 7:52 pm.

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February 3 – Math Olympiad 4


Another Math olympiad test today. This 4th grader is trying to figure out how many combinations of four different counting numbers will sum up to the number 15.

Posted 9 years, 9 months ago at 6:37 pm.

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January 30 – Science Fair Redux


Random shot of a family at the Science Fair today. My husband judged the top 8 seventh graders and I judged the top 8 eighth graders.

Top 8th grade projects (and I’m writing this from memory after observing 8 presentations! )

1st place:

Bluberrific Antioxidants – The correlation between vitamin c and antioxidants. The student was inspired because by his mother who makes a lot of smoothies. He found that you lose the benefits of blueberries by combining them with citrus fruit.

2nd place:

How humidity affects the growth of Chlorella lipid output. The student had access to a lab, centrifuge and cake press (?). He found that 80 % humidity causes algae to put out the maximum amount of lipids that can then be used as biofuel. At least I think that’s what he said.

3rd place:

Inspired by Sherlock Holmes, this student attempted to determine if the stuff you use to keep your fish Ick disease-free (malachite green + sodium chloride) was a better indicator of blood than hydrogen peroxide.

Very impressive and appeared to be mostly student-done. (You teachers know what I mean!)


I really enjoyed using autostitch, so here’s a bonus shot of the Science Fair – panorama style.

Posted 9 years, 9 months ago at 7:41 pm.

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January 27 – Kenken


I’ve still got a horrific cold, so today for my after-school math club I thought we’d talk about prime factorization then I’d teach them to do Kenken. Ken supposedly means wisdom, so Kenken is wisdom squared or square wisdom. My students thought it was great.

Even when it was time to go and we were stacking chairs, this little girl couldn’t stop working on the puzzle. She had already completed three and was so determined to finish the fourth.

Last fall, the school was looking for someone to run a Math Olympiad for 4th – 6th graders. I volunteered. Each Tuesday, myself & another parent meet with 7 – 12 students of all ability levels and try to give them a challenge. Some of the students don’t know their multiplication tables , others are tutored in algebra at home.

Posted 9 years, 9 months ago at 6:22 pm.

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january 14 – Math Olympiad test


Each week Another parent and I work with 4th – 6th grade students and Math Olympiad problems. This week they had a test.

The most challenging problem involved finding the ones digit of a number with 50 factors of 7.  Students were expected to see a pattern:

7 x 7 = 49

7 x 7 x 7 = ??3

7 x 7 x 7 x 7 = ???1

7 x 7 x 7 x 7 x 7 = ???7

7 x 7 x 7 x 7 x 7 x 7 = ????9

The ones digit pattern= 9,3,1,7,9,3,1,7,9…

I don’t think anyone figured it out.

Posted 9 years, 10 months ago at 11:38 pm.

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January 10 – Friedman's got half an idea

I had hoped to get a photo of the year’s “largest” moon last night, but the weather simply didn’t cooperate!
How about a post instead?
Tax Cuts for Teachers

Thomas Friedman speaks out for science and math education.  Read it.

Skip the part about the tax cuts. Don’t believe me? Check out I.O.U.S.A. being rerun today on CNN (3pm ET, noon PT) and then see how you feel about tax cuts for teachers, or principals, or fire fighters or (insert worthy recipient here).  Can you tell we talk about the economy a lot at my household?

Back to Friedman:

If we spend $1 trillion on a stimulus and just get better highways and bridges — and not a new Google, Apple, Intel or Microsoft — your kids will thank you for making it so much easier for them to commute to the unemployment office or mediocre jobs.


There’s simply no shortcut for a stimulus that stimulates minds not just salaries. “You can bail out a bank; you can’t bail out a generation,” says the great American inventor, Dean Kamen, who has designed everything from the Segway to artificial limbs. “You can print money, but you can’t print knowledge. It takes 12 years.”

Posted 9 years, 10 months ago at 11:39 pm.

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January 9 – Time for a new degree


Exciting day! Turned in my graduate school application to UNC today.  Looking at:

Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies
Emphasis in Middle Level Mathematics Teaching

Anyone have any thoughts? I see Kaplan University offers a similar program, all online.


Carter Hall, University of Northern Colorado, currently houses the Graduate Studies Department.

The university’s first separate library building opened in 1907 and was meant to emulate Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello in Virginia.

Wow, all this in Greeley.

Posted 9 years, 10 months ago at 11:15 pm.

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January 1 – What I don't miss about teaching

Nose picker


Posted 9 years, 10 months ago at 1:51 am.

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