Boggs’ Favorite Middle School Math Activities

The latest Math Forum Newsletter contained information about Rex Boggs, an international math middle level math educator. He has made accessible his all-time favorite middle school math activities — all freely downloadable. You can get to all of this content by clicking here. Boggs’ flipcharts come in two versions: annotated PDFs; and fully interactive .flipchart files, which require Promethean ActivInspire.

When not teaching middle school math, which he has done for 40 years in schools from New York City to Papua New Guinea, Boggs moderates the Technology in Maths Education User Group, tinspire Google Groups discussion, and math-learn Yahoo! mailing list — each featured in these pages before.

You can subscribe to the weekly Math Forum Newsletter by clicking here.

We Want Your Feedback

We want and need your ideas, suggestions, and observations. What would you like to know more about? What questions have your students asked? We invite you to share with us and other readers by posting your comments. Please check back often for our newest posts or download the RSS feed for this blog. Let us know what you think and tell us how we can serve you better. We appreciate your feedback on all of our Middle School Portal 2 publications. You can also email us at msp@msteacher.org.


All A Twitter About Math

Keeping up professionally takes time and effort and sometimes seems overwhelming. Following a few well-chosen educators or organizations can really help lighten the load. I am a big fan of Twitter. I am amazed at the wealth of wonderful resources that I discover through tweets. If you are interested in delving into the world of Twitter or perhaps are just looking for a few, good folks to follow, check out the following collections from the Best Colleges Online blog.

The 50 Best Twitter Feeds for Math Geeks

50 Essential Twitter Feeds for STEM Educators


We Want Your Feedback
We want and need your ideas, suggestions, and observations. What would you like to know more about? What questions have your students asked? We invite you to share with us and other readers by posting your comments. Please check back often for our newest posts, subscribe via email, or download the RSS feed for this blog. Let us know what you think and tell us how we can serve you better. We appreciate your feedback on all of our Middle School Portal 2 publications. You can also email us at msp@msteacher.org.

Celebrate Women’s History Month with STEM Stories

The STEM Stories website features a growing collection of digital resources that highlight the lives and work of individuals involved in STEM fields (mainly women). It combines compelling personal stories and multimedia to interest intermediate and middle school students in STEM subjects and careers.

From the In the Spotlight menu, you’ll meet 10 present-day women who are featured in depth, with interviews, photo albums and more.  They include dolphin communication researcher Diana Reiss, atmospheric chemist Susan Solomon, biologist and astronaut Millie Hughes-Fulford, and robotics engineer Heather Knight. (Heather helped work on the Rube Goldberg machine sequence for the OK-Go music video This Too Shall Pass).  On the Clips tab, the database includes short videos that introduce individuals working in varied STEM careers.  The Profiles tab lets you search biographies about women working in STEM fields throughout history.  Some include photo albums, such as Mary Pennington, Rachel Carson, and Virginia Apgar. (Tip:  double-click on images to see a larger view).

The project team, headed by Lois McLean and Rick Tessman (McLean Media) created STEM Stories with girls in mind, drawing on design ideas from an after-school club for at-risk middle and high school girls. In a 2010 pilot, more than 200 students (Grades 4–7) in Nevada County, California, used the site in classroom activities. In one school, fourth- and seventh-grade students worked in pairs to create pop-up books based on featured individuals. Survey results found no major differences between the responses of boys and girls. In fact, teachers reported that students did not even comment on or question the site’s emphasis on women. And, although the website focuses on personal stories, most students also reported learning something new about science and engineering.

STEM Stories was funded through a grant from the NSF’s Research on Gender in Science in Engineering Program (#HRD-0734004). New content is being added every month, including more current and historical photos, profiles, videos, and interactives.

To introduce your students to the STEM Stories site, try these activities:

STEM Stories Treasure Hunt

STEM Stories Crossword Puzzle

STEM Stories Lesson Ideas


We Want Your Feedback
We want and need your ideas, suggestions, and observations. What would you like to know more about? What questions have your students asked? We invite you to share with us and other readers by posting your comments. Please check back often for our newest posts or download the RSS feed for this blog. Let us know what you think and tell us how we can serve you better. We appreciate your feedback on all of our Middle School Portal 2 publications. You can also email us at msp@msteacher.org. Post updated 4/19/2012.

A Reason to Tweet

Snowtweets Project from the University of Waterloo provides a way for people interested in snow measurements to quickly broadcast their own snow depth measurements to the web. These data are then picked up by the Snowtweets database and mapped in near real time. The project uses the micro-blogging site Twitter as its data broadcasting scheme.

Participants can use a data visualization tool called Snowbird that allows them to explore the reported snow depths around the globe. The viewer shows where the reports are located and how much snow there is at each reported site.

How can you participate in Snowtweets?

1. Register for a free Twitter account at www.twitter.com.

2. Measure the snow depth where you live, work, or play.

3. Use your Twitter account to tweet the information to the project.

See more detailed instructions at http://snowcore.uwaterloo.ca/snowtweets/.


We Want Your Feedback
We want and need your ideas, suggestions, and observations. What would you like to know more about? What questions have your students asked? We invite you to share with us and other readers by posting your comments. Please check back often for our newest posts or download the RSS feed for this blog. Let us know what you think and tell us how we can serve you better. We appreciate your feedback on all of our Middle School Portal 2 publications. You can also email us at msp@msteacher.org. Post updated 4/19/2012.

Upcoming Free MSP2 Webinars

We have some excellent webinars scheduled in the month of October – presented by MSP2 teacher leaders and staff. Please share these opportunities with your colleagues. All presentations will be recorded and available on the MSP2 Webinar Archive page. Hope to “see you” online!

Beaks and Biomes: Integrating Science and Literacy
Thursday, October 14, 2010 from 4-5pm EST
For more information: http://wiki.nsdl.org/index.php/BeyondPenguins/Seminars

The series is sponsored by Beyond Penguins and Polar Bears, an NSF-funded project that provides professional development and instructional resources to elementary teachers (but lots of middle school teachers use them too).

This life science unit uses scientific inquiry, literacy instruction, and a multigenre text set to examine adaptations, migration, and ecosystems. Leave with a unit framework you can directly incorporate into your classroom! Note: This session builds on concepts presented in our first two seminars: Informational Text and Multigenre Text Sets and Inquiry, Literacy, and the Learning Cycle. You’ll get the most out of the session if you’ve participated in the previous seminars, or view the archives at http://wiki.nsdl.org/index.php/BeyondPenguins/Seminars.

MSP2 Book Club: Discuss The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
Tuesday, October 19, 2010 from 7-8pm EST
For more information: http://www.msteacher2.org/events/msp2-book-club-discuss-the

How did cells taken from a poor black woman in 1951 come to unlock some of the biggest advances in science? Hope you’ll join me in reading The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. For a really good overview go to http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2010/jun/23/henrietta-lacks-cells-medical-advances.

21st Century Skills and…
Thursday, October 21, 2010 from 7-8pm EST
For more information: http://www.msteacher2.org/events/21st-century-skills-and

The U.S. is in critical need for a qualified workforce equipped with skills beyond the basics of reading, writing and arithmetic. The U.S. future workforce needs employees with critical thinking and problem solving, communications, collaboration and creative and innovation skills. We as educators will need to tweak what we already are doing in order to prepare our students for the challenges and opportunities that await them in the 21st Century. Learn how you can incorporate these skills in to your instruction to meet the needs of the 21st century employer.

Virtual Field Trips
Thursday, October 28, 2010 from 8-9pm EST
For more information: http://www.msteacher2.org/events/virtual-field-trips

The world becomes a smaller place if you can expand your classroom beyond its walls and location. Purposefully used, virtual field trips can enhance learning and support content mastery.

This webinar provides a framework to expand teaching strategies by incorporating digital technology to explore the world, inquire about big ideas, and create authentic experiences. See examples of virtual field trips around STEM concepts. In addition, learn about tools used to create your own virtual journeys and how to access resources for established field trips.