Focus Area #1: Engagement
Oreos Eh?: Canadian versus American Oreo offerings are explored pictorially here. If you’re seriously considering an Oreo theme in one of your classes, this collection of pictures can spark many questions that tie in nicely to statistics, algebra, geometry, fractions, decimals, percents, and more.
Oreo Double Stuf: Julie Reulbach has posted a blog entry showing a wonderfully engaging Oreo exploration with her grade 6 class (grade 7-12 keep reading, this can be done in any grade!). She showed her students four packages of different types of Oreos, then asked “any questions?” Her students settled on “is Double Stuf really double the filling” and then explored how to answer it. Brilliant open-ended exploration with answers showing knowledge of measurement, volume, algebra, and more.
Focus Area #2: Critical Thinking
Mega Stuf Oreos: One Precalculus teacher’s blog response to the “how much Stuf is in Mega Stuf Oreos – Double, Triple, or…?” is a lovely pictorial rendition of the process, without revealing the answer in the post (spoiler alert – at the end of the post he has a link to the math he used to obtain the answer). Why not have your students find answers to the question, then compare methods and answers?
Sprinkler Mathematics: Robert Kaplinsky has written a great blog post showing a student activity on sprinklers and geometry. Using Google Earth images, students determine the optimum placement of sprinklers to ensure optimum grass watering for a field. (Additionally, how many Oreos would it take to cover the area the sprinklers cover? …not in the blog post but could spark another exploration of circles and area!)
Focus Area #3: Connections
Oreo Caloric Intake: A blog post written by Nathan Kraft explores the question of whether eating just the filling of Oreos contains more calories than eating just the cookies. From algebra to visual representation, there are pictures of various ways to solve this – but why not show your students the two pictures of Oreo packages and nutrition information at the beginning of the post and pose the question “Who’s getting more calories? What can we do to figure this out?”
Scratch: Check out “Scratch”, the new website for MIT’s coding tool. They also have math-specific goodies already available and shared by Scratch users! Students from grades 4-12 are already experimenting with this coding tool – get your students to dabble in coding!
Focus Area #4: Professional Learning
Oreology Resource: Submitted for your perusal somewhat tongue-in-cheek in this “professional learning” section, Christopher Danielson claims to have the “most comprehensive Oreology resource” available on the Internet. For all things Oreo (tied to mathematics, of course!) check out his collection here. Particularly useful is his “comprehensive Oreo database”, a listing of all possible varieties of Oreo ever produced as well as calories, mass per serving, and lots of potential mathematical explorations trapped within.
Sir Ken Robinson: On a more serious PD note, if you missed last Monday’s live session with Sir Ken Robinson through Discovery Education, you can view the recording of the one-hour conversation. He has also posted an article which advocates making education personal for each student.
Focus Area #5: Current Research
“So what should we say when children complete a task – say, math problems – quickly and perfectly? Should we deny them the praise they have earned? Yes. When this happens, say ‘Whoops, I guess that was too easy. I apologize for wasting your time. Let’s do something you can really learn from!’ ” (mindset – the new psychology of success: How We Can Learn to Fulfill our Potential, Carol S. Dweck, Ballantyne Books 2006)
Dweck’s research is tested and proven in various classrooms across North America. Her writing focuses on moving people from “fixed mindsets” to “growth mindsets”. The book offers some wonderful theory on how we think, and how we can move away from intelligence and ability to effort and perseverance – and ties this into key methods for working with students who struggle.
Focus Area #6: Ressources en Francais
30% Moins de Gras que les Oreo Ordinaires: Well this blog post is brief, but it starts with a statement that you could pose to your MY students and have them prove (or disprove) mathematically. The blogger asserts “Je ne suis pas expert en mathématiques, mais 30% moins de gras par deux biscuits, c’est juste 30% de moins… point.”