The End of the Line…For Now

What a season, what a season. If I were in person for this blog, I’d probably applaud myself and cheer rather pathetically, as is my style.

This blog post is designed to be your one-stop shop for all of my learning project posts in case you ever need to lose a few hours to me bumbling around, trying to find math in the most interesting places. All baking related, of course. I learned a lot in the ten posts that I made during this project, and I got to eat and share a lot of yummy things, too!

My friend, my sister, and I made pies this weekend, and I instructed both of them on how to properly mix the custard-y fillings, and how to make whipped cream. And how to separate eggs, so I really did feel that I made progress in my cooking. My sister even said, while we were baking, that she thinks I have come along way because I no longer look terrified when I am baking something. So that’s a plus! Below are the blogs I made wherein I learned to bake.

 

One-Stop Shop for all Your Blogging about Cooking Needs

  1. Intro – the first thing I did was decide that I was going to bake for this project. Honestly, I mostly just wanted to eat tasty things and tell everyone it was for a class. I didn’t expect much from it other than that. I added in the mathematical knowledge on top of it, for two reasons. As I mentioned in the post, I did do a baking project with my Grade 8s (I saw all of them a week ago, it was amazing, but also sad because I missed them so much, and I wish I could just stay there, but alas, I have to Film Festival it up, yo), but also because I wanted to prove to myself that I could find math in anything, and make it tangible and worthwhile to me and to my imaginary students.
  2. Salted Caramel Cookies – in my first post, I started with cookies becuase I thought it would be easiest. But it turns out I actually learned a lot from the experiement. I learned that cookie dough thickens depending on the temperature and the amount of flour proportionally, and that caramel like, evaporates in heat. For this math lesson, I did Grade 8 proportions, based on those two learnings.
  3. Salted Caramel Cookies – Revised – this post was more for me to actually learn from my mistakes of last time, and to try something new. That is, to put more caramel in smaller balls of dough. Not a complete success, but definitely an improvement.
  4. Cheesecake Brownies – I learned that my biggest impedement to cooking is my self confidence, as evidenced by my being wayyyy too stressed about how long to bake the brownies for. I decided to then make the math lesson revolve around Grade 9 linear realtions so students could find ways to graph and understand those baking times I struggle with.
  5. Cupcakes – This was when I made so many cupcakes it was like, the worst decision, there were 60 cupcakes, send help. The learning I did here was incredibly valuable, because it helped me gain confidence in my baking skills. I had to work hard and perservere when my recipe for the fillings didn’t turn out. And I learned to trust my judgement and not be afraid to try new things. Once again, my math lesson revolved around my learning and mistakes, with it being Pre-Calc 20 linear inequalities, and working with adjusting amounts of variables in an equation to make the best baking even if the recipe asks for different numbers of cups or amounts.
  6. Cake – Super fun one where I baked with my Mom. I love my Mom, she’s great, and she was a big help in me making the cake that I always make her make me for my birthday. Not much learning here, except again, gaining that confidence with baking times. I decided that the math could fall into Workplace and Aprenticeship 20 or 30, with surface area and volume. Mostly because it facinates me that the poke cake increases it’s surface area with the holes, but decreases its volume.
  7. Cooking Videos – The week of no kitchen because my parents were doing renovations. So I watched some videos to help inspire me for weeks to come. This blog will forever be known as The Time that Sarah Decided She was going to Separate an Egg and Talked about it for Literally a Million Years before She Actually did it. I hope I capitalized appropriately there.
  8. Pie – Probably where I learned the most, to be honest. I learned about how pie filling thickens, and to trust the recipe when it tells me these things happen. I learned about how meringue is formed by egg whites, and I learned how to make every part of a recipe from scratch. This lesson was for pi day, and so I used Pre-Calculus 30 as my lesson, as I thought it would be kind of cool for students to use a pie to introduce and look at the unit circle. Not because of any actually mathematical relevance the pie would have, just because it would look cool and be fun to cut in to.
  9. Brownies – The time I lost a bet and had to blog about it, because it involved baking. The best part of this blog was that I got to take one of Carmelle’s awesome suggestions and make it – which was the best idea! The Oreos in the recipe made me think it would be cool to ask Grade 7 students how many cookies could possibly fit into the recangular shape without losing any part of the cookie. Of course, you can break the cookies and reshape them. But in my math class, we don’t waste any of that cookie, it goes on that brownie.
  10. Mousse – The be all end all of the project. I learned to separate an egg (I DID IT) and I learned how to fold in ingredients. It was a super fun part of the project, and I felt like I had actually learned a lot when I got to this point. Especially in the way of confidence, because though I thought I had failed, I just kept trying, and working at the recipe, where in January, I would have just given up and asked someone to just do it for me. So that was the biggest step of all for me. I also learned a little bit about baking and how air is useful in baking. I am still not 100% sure how mousse is made, but I do have some better ideas due to the beating of the eggs and heavy cream.

So that’s it! There’s the whole project! I hope you enjoyed being a part of the learning, and I hope  you try out some of the recipes yourselves. If you take anything away from this experience, I hope it’s what I learned the most – to be confident in yourself and just keep trying, because failure is not the worst thing.

Oh, and also, math is totally everywhere, I bet you can find it. Learning is everywhere, I bet you can find it.

 

Have a great, amazing, splendid, and worthwhile day, you are all wonderful humans, probably.

Summary of Learning

Here it is, the glorious and completed Summary of Learning Amy and I did for ECMP 455. Like my blog posts in general, it is slightly longer than you’d expect, so don’t feel obligated to watch it.

But we couldn’t cut it down. We felt like everything in the video was what we wanted to say, and what we wanted to portray. To cut it down would mean that we would have to eliminate entire parts of the video, and we felt each piece was valid.

We made five parody videos of different types of YouTube content. Each was inspired by something that we learned in ECMP, and so, after the videos, we go on to describe what it is we learned about the topic.

Join Amy as she adventures through YouTube and encounters each of the videos! That sounds way more exciting than it is, but oh well.

These are the videos we did and why:

  1. Clickbait Video (0:23)- just to introduce the Summary of Learning. It is quite lame, don’t judge me.
  2. Let’s Play (2:42) – firstly, I wanted to play The Witness, which I’ve referenced before in my blogs and secondly, we wanted to talk about online communities, and the use of being able to connect with people all over the world.
  3. Tutorial Video (11:37) – online learning, and how as teachers, we can learn and teach on the internet, and encourage our students to learn and teach as well. Students and teachers as content consumers and creators.
  4. Taste Test (19:30) – we both learned something food based in our learning projects, and we wanted to discuss what skills we learned online.
  5. Fake News(28:09) – online literacy, and being critical of what we see on the internet, as well as what we post and the permanence of it.
  6. Social Justice (33:16) – we didn’t do a parody video because we just wanted to address how we want to talk and teach about social justice in online spaces.

That’s the whole video, I hope you enjoy if you watch it!

 

Unfortunately, during our Fake News segment, one part of the editing messed up and the text I’d placed at the beginning is now in the middle. Kind of unfortunate that something happened in between my editing and uploading it, but for the most part, the rest worked well. The Let’s Play audio is off by about a second, but two minor mistakes aren’t the end of the world.

I don’t have a Title – It’s Sunday and I am not Creative

I am choosing to write a blog post on constructive online discourse. Do I think it is something that is possible? Do I think I can change someone’s mind, or they can change mine?

I think this is a difficult topic, and though I don’t like to say “no, never” to pretty much anything, I do think that I have an opinion that can go both ways on this topic. I have two points or reasons that I think both describe why online discourse is possible, and also why it is not. Both of my reasons work for either argument, and this is why I find that I don’t have a definite concrete answer.

I Googled “Angry Discussion” and this was my favourite that was shareable by anyone.

Wait Time as a Positive

In online spaces, you have more time to respond to questions. Dialogue is not immediate, most of the time you are typing to someone to respond to a question or a comment, and so you have more time to stop, think, and reflect on your answer. You have a change to read over what you are saying, to have other people look it over, and to edit what  you said. If you were in public, or face-to-face with a person, your first instinct, or your first message would be the one you would convey. Often, I’ve found, I heavily edit my first crack at anything, so I think having that opportunity for wait time means that you can ensure that what you are sending out is what you want to send out. You have that chance to pause.

Wait Time as a Negative

When you have that time to wait, that time to pause, it can also help you distance or detach yourself from the discourse. It means that you can use space and time to lessen the impact of someone’s words, or to become impassive to what they had to say to you. When you are in a conversation face-to-face, you have less time to respond, you are looking at the person directly, or hearing them directly, so you don’t have any distance from their feelings or their emotions. This can be a good thing, but I think it’s a bigger negative in online discourse because then it means that the feelings behind a person’s post to you can be ignored for a long time before you respond, thus making you less attached to the argument, or to their side of the story.

I also think it’s a negative because, while you can have more time to reflect, you can also have more time to become more scathing or detached in your reply, so your answer or response is not more understanding, but is instead more cruel. And then once it is posted, you can’t take it back in the same way you can take back words. You can backpedal and apologize, just as you can in real life, but there is more of a permanence to your mistakes – someone can have a copy of them forever, so you can always regret them or apologize, but someone may be more unwilling to forgive with tangible evidence of your regretted post. That being said, I think that is unfortunate, because I do believe people can change and should be given an opportunity to grow as a person. I know that I had some opinions in my life that I definitely don’t agree with now, because we are not a static image, we are constantly learning and changing. But the internet can have that permanence that is harmful.

Intent as a Positive

In online space there is a little bit of removal, as I’ve said before, between you and the person you are talking to. That removal can then mean that a debate can be less emotional or personal because you have space. It also means that you can be calm and rational in your responses, you can’t read the exact amount of anger from somone, and so both people, or multiple people can have a chance to have a non-aggressive conversation.

Of course, this is fine in theory, not so much in practice. I don’t often see this one acted out, but I do know for me, I can come across more calm and collected online, provided I don’t TYPE IN ALL CAPS FOR NO REASON and so I have a chance to have a calmer discussion.

Intent as a Negative

It is also a negative, because you can’t always tell what someone is meaning, or what their intent is. So you may read something as sarcastic when it wasn’t, or as an aggressive attack when it was unintended. As well, sometimes something doesn’t read the way you want it to (commas are important, people) and so someone may take it in entirely the wrong way. I know many times I’ve fought with my sister over text or on Skype because I can’t tell if she’s actually mad or just kidding, and then I get actually mad, and she thinks I’m just kidding, and it’s a mess all around, really, I shouldn’t be allowed to converse with people.

I Googled “Positive Discussion”. I don’t know what this symbolizes, but I think it’s fine.

 

Sorry for the text dump, this is honestly all I really have to say on the matter. I don’t think that conversation and constructive dialogue is impossible online, I think it is better in some ways and worse in some ways than face-to-face dialogues. Online comes with its own unique set of strengths and problems. But I think that changing someone’s mind is difficult in any space. If I want to, I can ignore anything someone says because I don’t care enough to listen. There are only like, three people in my life who can change my mind (my best friend is seriously my favourite person because we will debate and both respect and listen to each other’s opinions all while simultaneously yell-talking, so everyone thinks we are having an awful fight, when we are actually just agreeing angrily), but that doesn’t mean that I am unwilling to respect other people’s opinions. I am an inherently passive person, which I sometimes think is a lie because I am so loud I think I must be aggressive,  and so I am less likely to shut someone down. But that doesn’t mean I am then going to listen to someone and agree with them.

I have my opinions for a reason. I have them because I believe in them and I think they are right. Why would I have an opinion that I think it wrong? Someday I may think the opinion I had was wrong, but that conviction in my feelings makes it difficult to change. Often, challenge makes us more defensive rather than willing to listen.

Sorry, that was a ramble, tl;dr, opinions are hard to change, online or not, but I don’t think it’s impossible depending on the circumstances and people involved.

The Yolk of an Egg is or are White

In Yorkton there is a sub who, whenever his class is lagging or he has free time, pulls out his “bag of tricks”. Which is just a bunch of laminated papers with word puzzles on them. One of which was the yolk of an egg one. He asked it to us every time. Every time. I know a lot of random word puzzles now.

But, that was unimportant. So I will move on to the blog post now.

Guys.

GUYS. guys, guys, guys guys GUYS

GUYs

Guess what? I separated an egg. I did it. I did the thing. I separated THREE whole eggs. I have a video that I will post later. But it was all very inspirational and very exciting. You should all be so proud of me, and maybe get me a medal, probably.

I made the mousse that I said I was going to make for like, five hundred million years. And it was the most difficult thing I’ve baked and I learned a lot from the experience. I am so proud of myself.

The recipe itself essentially had me do three separate things and then bring them all together.

First, I melted chocolate and cream in a bowl over how water. Which is a thing I’ve heard of but never done, so it was very exciting and just all-around thrilling.

Second, I had to whip the rest of the cream for the recipe into, like, a more solid thing. “Until stiff peaks form” as they always say in the recipes. That part was really easy because I just used an electric mixer so not that exciting.

The third thing I had to do was whisk together three egg whites. That means no yolk. That means Sarah gets to separate an egg and be successful, probably. We’ll assume successful because of the unnecessary amount of “Guys” written at the beginning of the blog.

So I separated the first egg and I took a video of it like a nice human person who is not awkward and bad at videos.

 

I would like you to know that my Mother took the video, so it is her fault it is a vertical video, do not blame me, I had no idea she was so misinformed until it had already passed, so this is what is recorded in the world of my success. A vertical video.

So the egg separation was actually not that hard. I did mess up on one egg, so I will give you the advice that if you choose to separate eggs this way, make sure that the pressure of the bottle is what draws the egg in, don’t try to unsqueeze the bottle yourself. It will lose pressure and the yolk will break. I only did that once, and after I learned not to do that, it was relatively easy!

So then all I had to do was whisk the eggs until they were also more solid and had stiff peaks, and that was easy, I’d already done that with the meringue on the coconut cream pie.

Then I had to add the cream and eggs to the melted chocolate slowly, and fold them in. Folding is not my favourite thing to do. I didn’t know how to do it before I made the mousse and I was very unsure the whole time. Basically you cut the mix in half and then scoop one part over the other and then just do it over and over until the thing is mixed.

I was not a fan, and by the time I was finished, the whole thing was kind of a light brown soup. The instructions said to make sure that I didn’t deflate the eggs or the cream, but I don’t know what that’s supposed to look like, so I just tried not to vigorously stir or something. And it was like, a liquid, so I was pretty sure I had deflated something.

Then I put the mix into bowls and stuck it in the fridge for an hour and a half. Recipe said two hours, but it was 10:30 and we had to go to bed.

I pulled them out and guess what? They were actually mousse! Like the bowls magically turned into the fluffy stuff. And I was so sure that they would not because I had deflated or whatever. But no! I did it! I made the mousse and it tasted good. So I am a baking machine who can separate eggs and fold things with the best of them!

#SoProud

Ah, so beautiful.

So I know this is where I’d usually put the math portion of the project, but instead I wanted to do my own learning. I wanted to do some research into mousse, and why it turns into bubbles like that. Apparently, those are air bubbles, but I don’t know how they showed up in my mousse when they weren’t there before.

So I did some digging and I found like, nothing. Like, it was so hard to find anything, so I encourage anyone who is feeling particularly web-search talented to find out why.

The only thing I found was on one recipe that said that the egg whites, when whisked, add the foam and air for the mousse. But like, my liquid, not refrigerated mousse was not airy, so what happened? I am very perplexed by this.

I found a ton of articles about a mousse you can make with just chocolate and water and the science behind that. But I was like, cool, I’d like to know why my deflated mousse re inflated. Maybe I am totally wrong and it was inflated(?) the whole time? Who knows? Only the mousse, and I ate that, so whoops.

I think that this, though it’s not a math lesson, shows that the world can make us inquisitive and ask questions about things that we don’t know the answer to. And we can then try to come up with an answer using the resources we have. I failed at that part. But I am hoping someone can help me. Or maybe the actual answer is really just “whisking the eggs made them fluff up because you added air and that air was transferred into the mousse”. But that’s a really boring answer. I want the real answer to involve fire or something.

A Bet Fulfilled

Okay guys, so you know how you say something and how you’re totally going to do the thing but then you never do the thing and it’s shameful?

Yeah, so I was going to make mousse this weekend. I bought all the ingredients and got it all set up and ready to go….and then I didn’t have a pot I needed to make it. Like, honestly seriously, I needed a metal pot and I didn’t have a metal pot. So no mousse for me.

 

BUT IT WILL HAPPEN NEXT WEEK, I SWEAR ON MY HUMAN LIFE

 

So instead I made the brownies that Carmelle suggested, out of the kindness of her own heart. The brownies have a bit of an inappropriate name, so I’ll link y’all to the recipe and we’ll pretend their just called Super Yum Yum Brownies. Cool? Cool.

Now, because this wasn’t the cooking I was looking for, I didn’t learn a whole lot about baking from this project. It’s all very unfortunate for me, but at least I did get something else out of it.

See, I have a friend. More of a begrudging acquaintance really. Friends are hard to make, I don’t know when that happens. I guess we’re friends? I just skyped and he said we’re friends so I guess I know now.

Anyway, we’re playing through the best game series to ever be a game series and where is the third game, I’ve been waiting for eleven years, Square, why do you do this to me?

When we play the games, I play through the whole game, and then he fights the final boss. And we make it a bet where like, if he wins he gets something, and if he loses I get something. And guess what I lost (totally because he cheated). So his stipulation if he won was that I had to make him brownies. Because my last brownies went to my EMath class and no one else got any brownies, so there.

Like I said, the brownies were super easy. First I put down some cookie dough in a pan.

Then I put Oreos on top. We thought we’d go creative and make them birthday cake Oreos, to go with the sprinkles that I mixed in to the cookie dough.

Then I just poured the brownie batter on top!

Like, literally it was super easy, but I did learn something. I learned that I am getting much better at baking things because I was way better at judging when the brownie was done, and when it was not. So I give myself like, four gold stars for that.

That was my brownie and it was pretty good! If I were to say one thing, though, I think we should have used regular Oreos because the birthday cake ones had a pretty oddly strong flavour that overpowered a lot of the other things in the brownie.

But it was well worth it, and my friend ate too many brownies and made himself sick, so who’s the real winner in the end?

 So not a real update, I apologize, but I found my metal bowls, so I will definitely actually do what I said I would next and it will be special and magical.

As for curricular connections. I think this relates to area again. I know I already did surface area and volume, but I’m just thinking area right now.

Specifically in the step with the Oreos. What is the greatest amount of Oreos one can place in that rectangle, and is it possible to cover the entire area without wasting Oreo? So like, you could make every circle into a square, but then you’re wasting a lot of cookie and that’s sad. So do the curved sides of the cookie make it impossible to fill in all the gaps, and what the most efficient way to do so?

Specific outcome is in Grade Seven:

Outcome: SS7.2 – Develop and apply formulas for determining the area of:

  • triangles
  • parallelograms
  • circles

Inspiring Creativity through Education

I have a lot I want to talk about and this will probably all be a huge mess. I apologize in advance for the slog this will be. I will try and break parts of it up with photos or videos if possible!

…buuuut it’s still going to sort of be a wall of text, so I don’t blame you if you take a pass on this one.

This week, we talked about some of the “hot button issues” related to technology in education and what our own opinions and experiences led us to believe on the topic. I admit that I am far too passionate about this, so this is why it will indeed result in rambling, but I chose to comment on the discussion we had in class surrounding the question of why we teach what students can Google, and the question if curriculum needs to be abolished or changed altogether with the rise of technology and information being readily available at our fingertips.

My opinion is this. I think we should by all means be changing how we teach and how our students learn with the changing environment of our world. I believe that the way we have taught for years is not the best way, and is not the system of success, but the system of the privileged, and the system of the mundane. We do not teach students to learn, we teach students to recite. And this is why I think that technology can shape the world for the better by forcing us to not teach our students what can be found on Google, but instead to teach our students to Google, to be curious, and to want to learn.

         This photo is a gift from me to you called “I      searched creativity on Google with photos that are               allowed to be shared and this is what I got”

         What is the Problem?

School Kills Creativity

I know I saw Ken Robinson’s TED Talk on this topic in my first year of University, so I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who has seen it, but I think this video works nicely as the opening point to my opinions on how our education system perhaps does need to change and be adjusted to account for some of its failings.

Here is the video as well, if you want a YouTube video, instead of the TED Talk website.

Basically, the idea is that school encourages students to stop trying new things, to stop thinking outside the box. He states this by talking about how young children are unafraid of being wrong, and are unafraid of failure. And then we give them the consequences for failure that mean that they’ll never want to not succeed again.

And while it is true that failure needs to have some form of acknowledgement, it doesn’t mean that students need to feel as if they are a failure simply because the answer was incorrect, or different than expected.

We teach students that there is only “yes” or “no”, and there is no “maybe” or “let’s try it” or “what about this?” and, in doing so, we give them that black and white idea that one is good and one is bad.

I think that absolutely school kills creativity and it is our job as future teachers to do something about it.

Behind Every Successful Person there is a Feeling on Education

Now, I don’t want to make it seem like I’m being a terrible person, and I’m not saying that education is terrible. Because honestly, I read through about a million different quotes from famous or “successful people” and what they had to say about education, and I disagreed with a lot of what they were saying. So I am perhaps providing a bit of a biased look by choosing the quotes that prove my point, but I admitted to it, so you all know that there is a large amount of bias being shown all over this blog.

But I want to emphasize why I chose to include this part. I made this choice because if our education system was perfect and the way we have organized the system worked then there wouldn’t be legitimate criticisms of the system. Everyone’s heard the list of people who dropped out of high school or university to move on to greatness – Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Mark Zuckerberg, to name a few straight, white males – and people use them as examples. To let people know that they can achieve greatness, that they can do good things, that they are capable of anything, no matter their grades or how they did in school. We hinge self-worth and importance on school, we elevate people by their perceived genius because they excel. But then when we take a look at the people who have played a large part in what has made the world what it is today, we see so many of them denouncing the education system.

It is, in fact, nothing short of a miracle that the modern methods of education have not yet entirely strangled the holy curiosity of inquiry; for this delicate  plant, aside from stimulation, stands mainly in need of freedom; without this it goes to wrack and ruin without fail. It is a very grave mistake to think that the enjoyment of seeing and searching can be promoted by means of coercion and a sense of duty. – Albert Einstein

The fact that ideas, that inventions, that science, math, poetry, everything in the world was discovered and created due to someone having an idea or a passion is no secret. Math spent most of its time being manipulated by people with the desire to see more. Scientists like to blow things up in the name of SCIENCE, poets like to see if they can write a poem about having no meaning and artists like to see if maybe driftwood has a hidden figure in it somewhere.

My point is that a lot of what we teach students in classrooms today was discovered by someone who wondered why. Who asked questions. Who tried things. Who failed more than they succeeded. And then we sit there, and tell our students they are destined for greatness. They are destined to be like the ones they learn about who created everything they love. And then we teach them in a system that does not nurture and cultivate the skills needed to do the things they did.

By the way, random aside, I was trying to find the poem I was referencing up there. I could not find it. So maybe Google is not that useful after all……..

Here is, from her best recollection, what the poem sort of looked like in my sister’s memory. Not totally related, I just promised there’d be pictures, so here’s a screenshot of my skype.

         What Happens Next?

 

 

Rediscovering Mystery

Those of you who are in my EMath class already heard me talk about this, so I apologize for the repetition. I found a documentary online the other day, called Rediscovering Mystery. Gonna give my props to Danny O’Dwyer, the video game journalist and documentary creator who made the documentary. He left his old job to start a Patreon so that he could make an in depth series of videos that explore the inner workings of game creation and development. He’s really awesome, you should check him out, look at his YouTube channel if you have any interest in video games in general.

But even if you don’t, you should totally watch the documentary on mystery.

The reason I include this is because I find that the lessons highlighted in the video can also be easily drawn to education and how we should be adjusting, shifting, and changing our direction in teaching. They talk about how creativity in games is dead because of the rise of the internet and strategy guides and FAQs on the internet meaning that it is easier than ever to just give up on a puzzle. They talk about how game development has moved in this direction as well. That if a player can’t solve a puzzle in five minutes, the game will pop up a little hint at the top directing the player. Games hold the player’s hand to an extent where no one wants to figure things out on their own anymore. And the developers discuss how they made their games – Frog Fractions, The Witness, and Spelunky – in spite of these stipulations. All those games are amazing, by the way, check them out. Frog Fractions is also free, Just saying.

In school we hold our student’s hands. We give them hints if they get stuck on a question. We give them a step-by-step guide to do a math problem. We give them multiple choice on tests. And when a student gets something wrong, we shut that line of thinking down, sometimes before they even get to their wrong answer. We work so hard to garner student success instead of thinking about how success should look and feel.

This is why inquiry in the classroom is so important. Because it encourages students to try things, to experiment, to not worry if they get the answer wrong, because often, there is no one right answer. I am a fan of this idea and this doctrine because we are then teaching students to not be ashamed of something that they’ll spend more of their life doing. The majority of people (like, I’d say over 90%, but that’s a made-up stat, sooooo) fail more than they succeed. It took me a long time to learn to make mac and cheese. I still am not a perfect baker, but I can make a mean meringue, who knew? You start every task with attempts and losses, and you work toward the success that means you’ve mastered a skill, idea, task, or concept.

That is what the documentary is alluding to with solving puzzles and mysteries in games. Games like The Witness give you no walkthrough, just a very simple straight line of about five or six puzzles before the game literally opens up into an entire world and you can go wherever you want. I spent my first four hours of the game literally wandering in a village where I didn’t solve a single puzzle because I had unwittingly found the area of the game you should probably do last. The game has puzzles you can go the entire game without seeing, and it blew my mind when I knew there was so much more to explore (literally so much, you can beat the game in the first ten minutes, and like, who knew?).

Frog Fractions has that last idea in it. That there is so much more to it than meets the eye. It is not what you think it is. And sometimes you can play the game and never move past the first section because you don’t know what the game is hiding. And Frog Fractions 2 is so crazy, I can’t even describe it.

Spelunky has a secret boss that is literally an eggplant monster that is literally so impossible to get to, only one person has ever done it without a partner, something even the creator thought was impossible.

That was the obligatory games rant. To show you the lesson these games can teach us.

  • You can figure something out even if someone doesn’t give you guidance or instructions
  • You can try new things and see what works
  • Not everything is how it seems, and sometimes you need to look at information from a different angle to see the bigger picture
  • Something may seem impossible, until you try hard enough

Technology and Exploration

We give students opportunity. We stop using our curriculum to create a hive mind with singular opinions and ideas and instead we teach our students to explore, to want to learn, to desire the answers, to fail, to learn from their failures, to then succeed.

From failure you learn. From success – not so much. – Aunt Billie, Meet the Robinsons

Technology gives us immense opportunity to work with exploration in the classroom. Like, I said earlier, give them a reason to Google, instead of teaching them the facts they can look up.

Here are some of the ways that technology can help us in devising change and opportunity in our curriculum, and how we can rediscover that mystery that is missing.

  • We can use the internet to explore math games with students – my table group and I looked at two websites yesterday in my EMath class – Math Hombre and Plastelina that have various math puzzles to explore and learn from.
  • Of course, there is Desmos and all the graphs you can explore there, and the art you can create.

  • You can do a flipped classroom and have your students watch the content of your class at home, and come to school for help or enrichment – gives you more time in the classroom for exploration, challenging questions, real life applications, and trying new things with the work.
  • You can use resources on the internet to find more interesting and creativity inducing lessons – use pinterest, twitter, any resource that will share ideas with you.
  • Encourage students to use Google, to look up things in class when you don’t know the answer, to research for an inquiry project responsibly.

These are my ideas on how we can instill creativity and mystery into our classroom, on how we can still use our curriculum we have, but teach it in new fun ways that inspire students to fail more than they succeed because that failure is worth it. There is something worth learning in being wrong. That even though you can Google something, doesn’t mean you know the context, or know why it is important. It is up to a student, a class, and/or a teacher to tell us why what we’ve Googled is relevant, and where we go from here.

That was my blog, if you made it this far, you are a very determined soul. I apologize for the length.

I’m a Day Late, but Guess What I Baked (for Yesterday)!

I feel like I try too hard every week to think of a new way to start blogs when I inevitably type “so this week I” every time when I start. I chose to change that phrase into this mess today, so I’m not sure if that’s an improvement, but it’s a difference all the same.

It was Pi Day Yesterday, as probably all of you know, which is so very exciting and inspirational. So inspiring and inspirational that, when I went to think about how I had said I wanted to make mousse this week, I realized that I was missing literally the perfect opportunity for math and baking. Like, if it’s Pi Day, I think I am seriously failing as a baker if I do not make pie!!!

I was in Regina this weekend so I made my pie with the lady who is related to me in a very complex way involving ” third cousins twice removed” and things like that. She is an excellent cook and an excellent baker, so it was awesome to learn from her. We did like, everything from scratch. We made the graham cracker crust (which like I have NEVER made, I didn’t even know that was a thing people did). It wasn’t that bad, even though I second guessed myself constantly as I was pressing the crumbs and butter and sugar in to the pie plate.

The recipe itself called only for egg yolks, so we did some egg separating! I saw it happen! It was a thing! I didn’t do it myself because she does it with like, the two egg shells and the pass it between the two thing, and I don’t think I’m nearly talented enough for that. Next weekend I am going to try the pop bottle method and let you all know how that goes.

The pie filling needed to be heated and stirred until thickened, and that was also incredible, because that happens so quickly. Like, for the first ten minutes, nothing was happening and I was stirring liquid and thinking that maybe we’d done something wrong and were just going to have to eat coconut soup and call it pie. But then, over the course of like 30 seconds, suddenly it thickened and was doing the slow bubble thing.

When it was finished, I put that stuff into the pie crust, shoved it in the oven, and we went about making the meringue.

The recipe we had technically asked for a dream whip topping, but we had all these egg whites, so we whipped them up with sugar and stuff and made a meringue! I have never ever never ever never seen that done before. Ever. And I have certainly never done it myself! Let me tell you, the most exciting thing in the world is when the eggs start to like, get more frothy, and then you add sugar and like, it turns into magic and I think I’m a wizard, Harry.

Once we added the meringue on top, and ovened it for a bit, we left it outside to cool (yay Canadian winters! Good for something, I guess!)

The pie was really tasty – I am a fan of coconut, it’s a different kind of sweet that I don’t find overwhelming. So this was a great success and I learned a ton!

I learned how to make meringue, I learned how to separate eggs the ‘old fashioned’ way, I learned how to make a graham cracker crust, and I learned to trust a recipe when it says the coconut soup will thicken.

 

Now, obviously, I think that I would never forgive myself if I didn’t tie the making of pie with pi. That would be just a missed opportunity, don’t you think?

 PC30.1 – Extend understanding of angles to angles in standard position, expressed in degrees and radians.

I’d like to point out that I don’t think I would use the pie for the discovery and understanding of radians, because I think there’s some useful treaty and Indigenous content there involving basket weaving and the inherent way some First Nations’ groups use pi without calling it pi (six hands and a thumb…so I guess tau technically, but let’s not get into that debate right here right now on the use of pi and things, I would rather we were all friends and ate pie instead of debating (at this moment, I am a fan of a good old fashioned debate, but I didn’t put my debate shoes on, so I am not prepared)). So instead, I think I would use the pie to introduce the unit circle. Make students actually make the cuts and see the sizes and I don’t know, it’s not exactly inquiry or anything complex. I just think it could be fun to have students looking at a tangible model of the unit circle and to be measuring and cutting the angles out.

Not as in depth math as some of the others, but I also think that there is so much less fun had in pre-calculus, so you know what? I think we all deserve to cut up some pie once in a while!