Geekin’ out on 2017!

Happy 2017, my friends!  Tomorrow I go back to teaching after a 2 week and 1 day break.  On the first day back I like to share with my students what is cool about the new year’s number.  Several other amazing #MTBoS people people beat me to posts on this topic (I’ve included links to all kinds of resources if you scroll down), but I thought I would share with you how I will use it in my classroom tomorrow.

I teach Advanced Algebra (Alg 2) and last year (2016) I started with this visual:3-in-common

I then reminded them of the story of Karl Friedrich Gauss we had looked at the first week of school where as a child he had quickly found the sum of the numbers 1 to 100.  1-to-100.  Students went on to write  rule for the expression by noticing the patterns Gauss noticed.

gauss-noticedIn the fall I followed this up with a number talk about a ‘football’ pattern.


Together we found a rule for the extended pattern and introduced the tern ‘triangular number’.   football-eqWe talked about this equation being equivalent to the one Gauss had found. On the first day back in 2016 we reviewed all of this and I told them 2016 was also a triangular number.  happy-2016  I asked them how many rows of dots were in this picture – instead of counting them we replicated the equations we had built in the fall using a smaller pattern.triangle-pattern

We annotated the pattern and wrote the rule.triangle-pattern-annotated

Students then threw the quadratic rule (it was so great that this rule was quadratic as that is what we were currently studying….Love it) into Desmos to find the number of rows of dots in the number 2016.footballs-on-desmos

It was a great start to 2016.  Now I want to do the same in 2017.

Cool things about 2017 (for tomorrow!)

So tomorrow is the start of 2017.  This is what I am doing tomorrow….

  1. First I am going to ask them what they know about the number 2017.  Most likely the fact that it is a ‘prime number’ will come up.  I am going to use this time to deepen students understanding of ‘prime numbers’.  I may use these GIF’s.  dcgwwjxnew_animation_sieve_of_eratosthenes
  2. I will then share a bunch of other geeky facts about 2017.  I tell students that math teachers are geeky and at midnight on twitter & facebook this is what I found people tweeting about 2017.  For example  look at all of these……

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  3. One of the tweets I plan to use tomorrow is this one…..complex-factorsI will be teaching my students about ‘i’ and complex numbers soon and I want to create a ‘subaru effect’ for my students so they are looking for ‘i’ and/or the term ‘complex numbers’ in the next month or 2 in my classroom.
  4. My favorite tweet was this one from David Radcliffe (from St. Paul, MN – love my MN math geeks).  2017-tweet-5my-mathHis tweet caused me to pull out a piece of paper and figure this one out. I was pleasantly surprised that this pattern was quadratic.  Love that the unit I am teaching tomorrow is on quadratic functions.  I will be using his puzzle this month in my classroom.
    I pulled out Desmos to check the work I did on paper and to solve his challenge.  The answer is 2017!  desmos-equationdesmos-solved
  5. This is the 8.5×11″ sign I will post outside me doorway tomorrow.happy-2017  Yes, it’s intentional that there are 17 boxes of 2017.  You can print it out using this word doc.  Enjoy.   happy-2017
Other amazing resources from the #MTBoS community!

Lastly, here is an image I will be using in my classroom this week for sure.  In 2017 I am excited about the opening of ‘Hidden Figures‘.  You should be too.hidden-figures-2

I will be walkin’ into 2017 like…


Happy New Year to all my friends and family.  Love you all.

p.s. My Christmas card blog post (and videos highlighting a decade of my homemade xmas cards) is coming, but is a bit late.  Hopefully later this week.  Until then, Which One Doesn’t belong?2016-card

Kind of like the credits at the end of the Ferris Bueller movie…I have one more 2017 thing for you.  Here are other ‘mathy’ dates in 2017.  math-dates-in-2017

Sara VanDerWerf

I am Sara Van Der Werf, a 24-year mathematics teacher in Minneapolis Public Schools. I have taught math in grades 7-12 as well as spent several years leading mathematics at the district office. I currently teach Advanced Algebra at South High School and I'm also the current President of the Minnesota Council of Teachers of Mathematics (MCTM). I am passionate about encouraging and connecting with mathematics teachers. I'd love to connect via twitter.  Join the community.  Tweet me @saravdwerf.

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