Archive for March, 2007

Pythagorean Theorem

Pythagoras (c. 560-c. 480) was a Greek philosopher and religious leader. He made many important contributions to mathematics, astronomy and music theory. Pythagoras is most famous for the theorem on right triangles, a^2 + b^2 = c^2. This theorem was known and discovered in other cultures, even prior to the birth of Pythagoras.

The religious brotherhood that he founded, which amazingly let in women (very radical for that period in time), believed that if people understood numbers that they would understand the divine. They believed that “All is Number.”

Here are some links about the Pythagorean Theorem:
1. Hot Chalk: Multiple representations with diagrams of the proof
2. Nova On-line: an interactive proof with real world examples
3. Go Math: This site has a quick tutorial and problem set with answers.
4. Regents Prep: Has some multiple choice, standardized test practice problems using the Pythagorean theorem
5. Bhaskara’s (c. 1114-1185) Animated Proof of the Pythagorean Theorem


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TeacherTube, an Educational Alternative to YouTube

Finally someone got it together and created an educational YouTube-like site. It’s called and it was launched this month. It has 11 channels covering different subject area and has tutorials and student projects on it. Maybe you have something you’d like to share with other students to help them learn.

Here is a video that I thought was interesting called “Technology Fear Factor.”

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Visit to Free Range Graphics’ Studio

After school I had dinner with a friend, Ms. Erica Priggen, from Free Range Graphics. That’s the company that made all of those amazing videos like Grocery Store Wars, The Meatrix and the Mouth Revolution.

I meet one of the company’s founders, Mr. Louis Fox, who was the Moutholution’s Che’. I kind of tilted my head a little so that I could recognize him because my view of him from the video is upside-down. (You’ll know what I mean if you watch the video.)

It was fun to scout around the studio because their office has props from various videos, including C3 Peanuts, Darth Tater’s helmet and the Moutholution’s logo. What an fabulous company that has inspired millions to make this a better world. Thanks, Louis, Erica and all of the folks at Free Range Graphics.

You can do your part to make this a better place by sharing these videos with your friends and by living the wisdom imparted in these fun clips. Links to all of these videos and more are also on the Ecological Footprint Education site.

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Ms. Newburn’s Math MySpace

Yes, the rumors are true. I created a MySpace and Facebook account. I’ll get around to making them more functional this weekend. I appreciate all of you who have been offering suggestions on how to make it a more attractive site. I’d love to use these sites as vehicles for sharing interesting stuff about math and learning.

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Pi Day Fun

Pi Day Songs

We have some wonderful singers in math 7. If you’d like, you can download the lyrics to the pi songs we sung. For people who chose to write a song about pi for homework, I will be recording podcasts of the top 5 songs from math 7, including Mr. MacDonald’s classes. These songs and the lyrics will be posted on the class blog and on my professional blog. If you are interested in having your song considered, please let me know by Wednesday. We already have 2 excellent submissions.


For people who are interested in learning how to make a hoop or how to hoop dance, you can find excellent information on my sister’s websites. You’ll recognize the dancer on Ms. Jessie’s sites.

Thanks for bringing in the pies and making it a fun Pi Day.

* Tech Tip: My sister is an excellent speller, and she realizes that some people aren’t. She intentionally uses several common misspellings in her websites for search engine optimization (SEO). If someone misspelled “hula hoop”, then they wouldn’t necessarily find her site, but since she includes both the correct spelling and incorrect spelling more people can find her pages. I’m a bit more particular and like things spelled properly; however, I will use include common misspellings in my tags to help people find my math sites.

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How to Create a Labyrinth

Check out this site by the Labyrinth society. It shows how to draw the classic Cretan labyrinth that we drew in class today that has 7 circles. It also shows how to do a 3 and 15 circle labyrinth. Cool.

You may also be interested in looking at some of the other pages, such as what is a labyrinth? and the types of labyrinths. (Click on the right side bar to go to the different types.) You can also see some of the beautiful creations from my friend Alex Champion, including the Cretan labyrinth and Flowerwand that I walked this past weekend.

The picture below shows the Peace Labyrinth that my friends and I built in my backyard.


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Alternative Homework Assignments

I understand that sometimes working out of the textbook isn’t the best thing. Maybe you don’t have your textbook with you and you want to get your math homework done. Perhaps, the assignment is a bit dry and you’d like something more engaging. Well, you’re in luck. There are alternative assignments you can do.

1. The mini-quiz should be about the topic we’re studying in class.
2. The quiz should be 6-10 problems long depending on the difficulty and length of the problems. Around 3/4 of the question should be from the current topic.
3. There needs to be at least one multiple choice question.
4. The answer key with the problems worked out needs to be a separate sheet. (It can be a scratch piece of paper.)
5. You need to get someone to take the test. Then you need to correct the test.

You can create a mini-poster on an 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of paper.
1. The poster needs to explain the current topic.
2. The explanation must be original.
3. The poster needs to have a title.
4. The poster needs to have some color and be neat.
5. You need to have a minimum of two worked out examples. More would be expected for a relatively easy topic such as reciprocals.
6. Show your poster to a classmate. Write “Corrected by: _____.” Have your classmate to sign off that she agrees with the explanation and accuracy of the examples.

1. It may not be a good idea to do a poster on a concept that you aren’t very familiar with since the book practice may be more helpful.
2. Only one poster may be submitted per week.

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