Embedding Interactive Graphs in Haiku

I’m a big fan of the online graphing calculator at Desmos.com. My students and I use it all the time instead of graphing calculators because it is so much faster, and it is easier to enter functions. And now I just figured out that teachers who use Haiku can embed interactive graphs into their Haiku pages!

First, create a function with sliders. For example, in the function pane, enter y = m*x + b. Desmos will automatically ask you if you want to create sliders for m and b, so click “All”.


Next, copy the embed code Desmos provides by clicking on the “Share” button at the upper right (you have log into Desmos to access the Share feature).


Now go to the Haiku page where you want to embed the graph. Click “Add Content Block” and choose “Embed the Web”. Paste the code into the yellow box:


Haiku will say it doesn’t recognize the code, but go ahead and click “OK”. Give it a title and place your content block where you wish, then hit “Save”. You should now see your Desmos graph in its own content block. When your students click on it, it will load a fully interactive grapher!



A New School Year, a New Approach

I’ve written a few posts over the past few years about flipping some of my courses. Flipping a course involves recording a screencast of the content and having students view the screencast for homework. When they come to class the next day, the teacher is available to work with them on the problems. So, the lecture part of teaching is “flipped” with the homework part.

This year, I’ve decided to hold my students more accountable for watching and understanding the material in my screencasts, and after talking with my department chair, I’m making some changes.

First, before they watch a screencast, I will hand out a worksheet (see attached file below for a sample) with the problems and examples that I cover in it. Students are expected to write the solutions to the examples as they watch, as well as fill in blanks where appropriate.

Second, I will ask them to solve one or two similar problems on their own before they come to class. I will check to make sure they’ve done them.

Third, I will see each student individually and ask her to solve a typical problem while I’m watching to make sure she has mastered the material.

Hopefully these steps will help my students take responsibility for learning the material I am including in their course’s screencasts.

Here’s the first worksheet for my College Algebra and Trigonometry Course:

Sec. 1.2 Worksheet

And here’s the corresponding screencast:


Visualizing in 3D

I introduced my precalculus students to vectors in 3D space yesterday. They have a hard time visualizing the 3-dimensional axis system, especially since the familiar XY-plane is now on the “floor”:

3D axes

To help them understand how 3D coordinates work, I paired the students up, and gave them a slip of paper that read:

This landmark is ( ______, ______, ______ )

steps from the northwest corner of Mr. Wert’s classroom.

Using the northwest corner of my room as the origin, they went all over campus and picked a spot to put their label on. They had to keep track of how many steps they walked in the x-direction, the y-direction, and the z-direction. Here’s an example:

3D landmark

Actively keeping track of their position using 3D coordinates really helped them understand how the x, y, and z coordinate system. works. After this, they were ready to work with vectors in 3 dimensions.