Infinite Tangents: TMC and Graphing

As I tried to complete week four of the MTBoS challenge, I was yet again defeated by my own technology.  See, my computer is 7 years old.  The hard drive is almost full and the operating system is Leopard (no, not Snow Leopard, just Leopard).  So when I tried to go to the Global Math Department and watch a webinar, I failed.  I was particularly interested in the one on Tuesday night about Geogebra, but I created the account, logged in, and then discovered my flash player was too old.  I tried to update, but alas, my operating system did not support the flash player needed, and my iPad doesn’t support flash at all, so that was a bust. I tried to watch the recording at school the next day, but the audio was so quiet I couldn’t hear it, even at max volume.  Hence, I listened to a podcast.

I chose the recent set of interviews with Lisa Henry about Twitter Math Camp.  I am a runner, so I popped in the ear buds and went for an hour long run while listening to the conversations of Ashli and Lisa about how Lisa got involved in the MTBoS, and the formation of Twitter Math Camp.

It was gratifying to hear how Lisa gradually got involved in twitter and felt like she had a presence.  After two years of communicating online, the group finally decided to meet in person, and worked together to host a conference called Twitter Math Camp.  I am intrigued, and will continue to pay attention to TMC, because I may want to attend in the future.

At the end of the podcast, Ashli asked Lisa the 6 questions which are asked at the end of every infinite tangents podcast.  In this section, they discussed the use of calculators and other tools when graphing functions.  Lisa’s beliefs actually confirmed my own…that using a calculator when graphing polynomials is a-okay (especially in general form), but when doing function transformations, by hand is the way to go.  I recently finished function transformations with my Algebra II class (by hand), and am planning to teach  finding key points on polynomials tomorrow.  I intend to use the TI nspire Graph Trace tool to find the key points, because it makes the calculator aspect so much easier.  Instead of having students get bogged down in what buttons to push to find a maximum, they just scroll along the graph.  The cursor jumps to key points and identifies if those key points are zeros, maxima, minima, or y-intercepts.  This way I can focus on what the key points mean, which is really the goal in the first place.

Listening to infinite tangents was an easy way to keep me thinking about how to best serve my students, and I think I will continue in the future.

4 thoughts on “Infinite Tangents: TMC and Graphing

  1. I wanted to listen to infinite tangents too, but my stupid iPhone (4s–not cool enough for 5 or 5s) and it’s even stupid-er iOS7 keep telling me that they (since it’s obviously a team effort to conspire against me) cannot access the iTunes store. Regardless, your post inspires me to keep trying! This whole MTBoS adventure is awesome!

  2. I had a 5 year old MacBook Pro from 08… It worked but was getting bulky so I upgraded! Time to upgrade!

    I love that calculators are a question of discussion. At our school 2 of the 4 teachers of algebra I rely on them and not the hands.

    I refuse to give in. I want to make sure my students are prepared for classes like yours. Once you get to higher math, you’ll have to use calculators more but without the concept there is no chance. Meaning is the way to go and calculator based on meaning is effective!

    Way to go on your calculator usage!

  3. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on Ashli Black’s Infinite Tangents podcast with Lisa Henry. I, too, am intrigued by TMC and hope to one day be able to attend–maybe I’ll even see you there! I also enjoyed reading your take on the use of calculators. It sounds like you have found a healthy balance and are teaching your students how to use them appropriately. Kudos!

  4. Hey, that’s my operating system too! (Erp, has it been 7 years? … searching … Maybe not quite. Time flies though.) At least I’m lucky enough to have a wife with a more modern computer, so I can borrow it for things like Global Math. Interesting how technology is kind of sabotaging our efforts (including Kaci in that) at connecting, huh? Guess even free PD isn’t totally free.

    Anyway, clever idea to incorporate the podcast into something you were already doing. Hope your work with the key points went well! Sounds like you have a good handle on things.

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