I am excited to be participating in the Explore the MathTwitterBlogosphere program this year. I did it last year and it really showed me how important and useful blogging is! The reason I joined this year is because I get really lazy about blogging and if I have missions to complete it will keep me focused and I will get some done. If you are not sure what Explore the MathTwitterblogosphere is, click the link to find out!
The first mission for participants who already have a blog is to write about either one of your favorite open ended/rich problems or something that makes your classroom uniquely your own.
+samjshah who posted the first mission followed the task with a very appropriate rant. He talked about us teachers who think we have nothing good enough to share. That is so me! I couldn't wait to get the first task and write my post, but when I read it my heart sank. I was sure I had nothing. I thought to myself, well at least I'm going to get to read a lot of great posts and get some good ideas. Which i already have!
I mulled over it most of the day and decided that I do have something I can share even though I don't think its really "mathematically rich" especially for the 8th graders I have do it. But it is extremely fun and I get to share my hobby in a mathematical way with my students, who by the end of the year have heard me talk a little bit about it. I do this at the end of the year, after NJAsk testing. I think its great for showing them math in real life and also a little number sense. They are so quick to grab calculators that they have a hard time doing simple addition, multiplication, division.
So we will start with my hobby, Natural Competitive Bodybuilding. I get a little embarrassed telling people right now since I haven't competed since 2008, right before I started student teaching and have shifted my priorities over to teaching (the sport takes mega amounts of dedication) needless to say I am a lot "fluffier" than your average bodybuilder! Anyway, I still stay active with the community by tabulating at competitions. Basically I am the score keeper. I absolutely love it. I get to sit at the judges table and until the results are announced I am the only one in the entire venue who knows the winners.
So I start off by asking students to think about how the winners are determined in various sporting events. They talk about basketball, baseball, soccer, tennis, hockey, then wrestling, martial arts etc. We talk about keeping score and the math involved with that. Then I ask them if they know how bodybuilding competitions are scored. Most of them think they just pick a winner and that there is no math involved.
There is some truth to that, I explain that there are 7 judges and what they do is put the contestants in order based on who they think should get first place down to however many contestants there are. Once all 7 judges have created their list of say 1st place to 5th place, the score sheets have to be combined and a winner must be determined.
I had my friend who promotes a local show send me a set of blank score sheets and tabulation sheet. For some reason I can only find the tab sheet on my laptop it looks like this:
Next I show them a video of the men's open portion of the competition. I show them how the judges identify each person by their number on their suit. They all have their favorites and ask me "who won!?" I tell them that they are going to figure that out!
I distribute the seven score sheets to the groups. I have them fill in each judge's score and show them how we discard the highest and lowest score for each person. For example, if the first competitor has 1,2,1,1,3,2,1, we cross off a 1st and the 3rd then add up the rest. So this guy would have a total of 7. in my organization we tend to have pretty big classes. Some of the classes are up to 10 competitors! The person with the lowest score is the 1st place winner and so on.
I tell students that these scores must be added up pretty quickly and they MUST be accurate! If I make a mistake it could mean the difference of 1st place or 2nd place for a competitor. This show that I was using as an example is also called a "Pro-Qualifier" meaning that the first place winner earns their pro card and can compete in future competitions for prize money instead of just a trophy.
This was a fun year too, because there were a lot of ties. As soon as they got to the ties, they wanted to know what to do, so I ask them what do you think we should do? Each trophy says the place, so you can't have two first place winners, 2nd place winners, etc. They came up with finding the averages but found that it didn't help. Next the lined up the two sets of scores and saw who had the most higher places.
The kids are really excited when they see how it turns out and they also see how math plays a big part in it! After they are done I play the awards ceremony and they see if they are correct.
Finally they beg me all year to show them my competition, so I usually show them my routine from this show.