Gene Davis Inspired Math/Art Project

One of my favorite projects we do is at the end of the first quarter. After we have gone through perpendicular, intersecting, and parallel lines I have an art project that students do. Students have to split up their piece of card stock into 4 equal shapes with a ruler on the front and on the back split the two on the front right down the middle.

I never tell students what the lines are for on the back, but they are for postcards for their upcoming parent teacher conferences. I hang up one set in the classroom and send the others home over time.

When I have them split up the front of the card stock I have them put different types of lines in each rectangle. One for perpendicular lines, intersecting, and parallel lines.

The last rectangle is for Gene Davis.

We talk about Gene Davis the artist and what he did and his accomplishments. I show them different artworks and ask them about what he did and why it is so amazing.

Some of the students think that what he does isn't art and then we look at his artwork on scale about how big each painting is and how time consuming it is for each line.

So after the artist study we finished drawing and filling in each rectangle.

Some of the different artworks are down below:


At the end this is what our Gene Davis Inspired Wall looked like. Students got to take home another one of their creations to put on the fridge and remind them that parent-teacher conferences were coming up and I was looking forward to meeting them.

Being Engaging Isn't Everything

A couple of months ago my wife and I went with her family to go see "The Piano Man" himself in concert on Wrigley Field. As a baseball fan myself and less of a Billy Joel fan I went to see Wrigley Field. As we were standing listening to him play hit after hit the person in front of me sat down and got out his phone. (Hard to see in the picture)

This sparked something inside of myself, if Billy Joel can't get 100% engagement why am I trying so hard to get 100% engagement in my students?

I know you are asking yourself Billy Joel is playing for tens of thousands of people and he is trying to engage 25 at a time. (Different circumstances)  It's true, but Billy is an entertainer, he makes his living playing music and entertaining people.

One thing I will always have over Billy Joel is that he can't form relationships with everyone in that crowd. With 25 students for 49 minutes a day it can be difficult, but not impossible to form relationships with everyone. Some are easier, some are more difficult, but that is how I get 100% engagement. Get students to buy-in to me.

I didn't buy into Billy, but I bought in to the experience that I now share with my wife. I definitely bought in to Wrigley Field.  Just like the guy in the picture maybe didn't buy in today.

I might not have buy-in each day from every student, but I play everyday, not just once and leave.

My take-away from this experience is that being engaging isn't everything, forming relationships is.

Finding Mr. President (Revised)

A while back I did this activity:

Students had to find President Obama and his missing hot air balloon. Students had to write and graph inequalities. I did this for Algebra last year and thought it would be a great activity for Algebra 2 at the beginning of the year.

I use to cut out three 3 clues, but this year I changed it up a bit. I still gave students the direction sheet. I did change the other 3 clues to make them look more official.

I blacked out some of the information on the original document and added some of the text of the original clue to the bottom. Plus the top secret on the top looks very cool.

Next was an official letter.

Last was suppose to be a order fill out form from the FBI, I altered the text in the middle to make it a phone transcript.