Playing Games in Calculus

Last year I taught calculus for the first time. I quickly found that my students loved anything I could turn into a game. I found this activity on Maria Anderson’s Teaching College Math blog. I adapted it for use with my smart board. Given an expression, students had to move it under the correct approach:

Only Product Rule       Only Quotient Rule         Only Chain Rule

Product Rule plus (what?)       Quotient Rule plus (what?)   Chain Rule plus (what?)

Here is the pdf that Maria provided

and here is a link to the the smart notebook that I turned it into.

Derivative Game

Thanks to Maria for this and all the other ideas she has provided. She has consolidated her blogs, including teaching College Math, into this one:  Maria’s consolidated blog Click the Mathematics button on her page if you want to see more.



Like a Butterfly’s Wings in China

A single book that I read as a fifth grader has had quite an impact on my life. Carry On, Mr. Bowditch is based on the life of Nathaniel Bowditch, born in Salem in 1773. Nat loved math (he taught himself algebra and calculus) and showed me how it could be important. He was interested in celestial navigation, and honed these skills during five voyages that took him around the world. Nat famously steered his ship home to Salem during a blinding snowstorm one Christmas, confident in his calculations.

As he used the published navigational tables, Nat found thousands of errors and realized that any of them could cause a shipwreck. He recomputed all of the tables and added clear instructions. Having decided to “Put in the book nothing I can’t teach the crew”, Nat worked patiently with the unschooled crew members. By the end of the voyage, each could calculate lunar observations and plot the ship’s position.

Nat has been my inspiration, both in my studies of mathematics and in my efforts to teach it.

Bowditch’s American Practical Navigator, published in 1802, was just updated in 2002 and is still in use today. Yes, Amazon has it. Here are pix of the copy my husband found for me many years ago.


Do you know what a haversine is?

First Baby Step –

So I’m one of the almost 200 teachers who signed up for the new blogger initiative. Thanks to the initiative for making this happen, and to Julie for her easy-to-follow instructions!

I teach math at a private high school in New York, and am still a relatively new teacher. Other teacher blogs have helped me sort out the contradictory advice on what a “good teacher” does. I’m looking forward to joining in on the conversation!