78 SC HR Back in ACH for an upcoming SPEEDHUNTERS article shot bey the talented Larry chen

OPP- other people's Porsche

Many thanks to my buddy Helmut for allowing me to drive his 73 in ACH This past Sunday 

SBAC on Steroids?

California is an SBAC (Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium) state. This last week my school started the SBAC Field Tests and I was a Test Administrator for my 7th grade classes. Before I continue, let me post part of the Security Affidavit I had to sign.

That's right, I will not divulge the contents of the field test. However, I will first refer you to last year's post where I made a video comparing released CST questions and SBAC practice questions.  Here's a reminder (screen shot), comparing just two questions. 

This week, I felt like my students were looking at SBAC practice questions that were on steroids. Since I can't speak about the SBAC Field Test questions, I took my Deodorant 3 Act task and put what I think the SBAC steroid version might look like. I have nothing against SBAC. I tried to create a similar task that had rigor, complexity, and mathematical modeling.

First, my Deodorant task goes like this:
Act 1: How long will it take to use all of that deodorant?

Act 2: Data from the first 4 sticks. 

Act 3: The answer is still in the works. 

Sequel: How many sticks of deodorant would a person use in one lifetime?

Here's how I'd see this same task presented SBAC-on-steroids-style. 

I walked away this week, thinking our students need to do many things.
  1. Read the story. 
  2. Decode the text.
  3. Understand the question.
  4. Organize the data.
  5. Retrieve and access the correct skill(s) or skill set.
  6. Apply the necessary skills.
  7. Perform the correct operations with the above skills.
  8. Interpret their answer.
  9. Explain (and articulate) their answer.
As a teacher of many ELD students, I can safely say that the following steps are already challenging; 1, 2, 3, 8, and 9. Don't get me wrong. I believe in literacy, but I wouldn't want language to be a barrier when assessing a student's mathematical abilities.

Hear this though: Students must make sense of the problem before they can use mathematical modeling to predict the answer. Then, they must articulate how they got their answer. I would consider this expectation the new norm.

I'm not done. I could totally see SBAC taking this deodorant task and creating an additional question that would complete my 3 Act. Check out this doozy.

We're looking for students to drag numbers to both axes, use a line of best fit, make a mathematical prediction, and explain everything again. The only thing I left out of this question was for students to write an equation for the line they draw. 

I have more to say about this, but that's enough for now. I'm already thinking about how to better prepare my students for these types of questions, which should be my next post. If you have any thoughts, please share. If you've made it this far, here's a preview of Act 3 for my deodorant task. Don't worry, I keep my shirt on!


pinehurst concours -may 3-4 -Pinehurst NC

check out next weekends PINEHURST CONCOURS in beautiful pinehurst N.C -.

 Southern charm & hospitality at its finest 

-great cars-great people  -great environment







Same name

Same name different game 
They've been in business at this location since the 1920s 

pizza delivery

i am thinking of applying .

i like to drive & i like Pizza ....



i ve been filming & shooting a lot of my 76-930 in DTLA at night over the past week for an upcoming video & article

 this is one of the many great shots by Larry Chen for an upcoming Speedhunters article








Garage life

Start your engines

Getting ready for the Eco Symposium!

We are starting off this week already on a good note. Over the weekend, team members Brandon and Rob had the opportunity to speak on WINZ 940AM radio station about our Solar Car. We also had our car seat dropped off by Donnie Balding. Everything fits perfect. SK3 is currently in good working condition, thanks to the whole team. This week we plan on setting up for the Eco Symposium along with putting the finishing touches on SK3.


Our hard work is going to pay off this weekend at the 2014 Eco Symposium at South Plantation High School! Come on out and check out our teams hard work, along with amazing guest speakers. Saturday, April 26th 2014, from 9:30-12:30. More information in the flyer above. Hope to see you there!

Esssen -techno classica interview

Many thanks to Ansgar  Fulland for this fun interview during the press day at Essen last month


check out his cool blog  here 


it was a fun experience ....



Some projects take longer than others 

Get Students to Argue in Math Class

I recently submitted my speaker proposals for both 2014 CMC conferences. One of my proposals is for the following session:
Title: "Get Students Arguing in Math Class with Number Sense Activities."
Description: Get students to productively argue about math situations. Participate in number sense activities requiring students to construct viable arguments, critique the reasoning of others, and use sense-making. Get ready to throw down.

I also had to answer a few questions justifying the session and connecting it to the CCSS and 8 Mathematical Practices. I provided the following connection:
The presenter will use number sense activities to get participants to construct viable arguments and share their reasoning like students. Using presenter-made tasks (Estimation 180) and other online resources appropriate for grades 3-8, attendees will be able to see the importance of student reasoning and creating productive discourse in the classroom. Teachers will also be provided with sentence frames and stems for all students, especially English language learners.

I'm really excited at the thought of this session getting accepted so I figured I would jot down a few ideas here and see what you all have to contribute. Even if I'm not accepted, I think every math class has to have students productively arguing at times. Doing estimation challenges with my students has been so beneficial for them to get better at the art of arguing. However, I know it could be better. I'm not sure if you've ever experienced it before, but it's a treat to stand off to the side or in back of a group of students arguing about a question in math. They have no idea you're nearby because they are so caught up in the argument. Don't get me wrong, it's not like they're swearing at each other and calling each other names. They are having a rich discussion, sharing conjectures, examples, counterexamples, etc. and I have the pleasure of spectating. I usually turn to an innocent bystander (nearby student) and whisper, "Awesome, look at them arguing. Isn't it great?" The student usually looks shocked that I'm happy their classmates are arguing. I love it!

I'd like this session to place a big emphasis on two mathematical practices:
MP 3: Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others.
MP 1: Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.

I plan to break these two practices down more in my session. For now, I feel I need to focus on three major parts to arguments: having excellent content, capturing the arguments, and indirect facilitation.

Content: There's a wealth of content available, but I think the more controversial the point of contention, the better. One of my favorite moments in math class was when we did Mathalicious' Datelines lesson. Students were arguing about which celebrity shouldn't date another celebrity because of the age discrepancy. Some students disagreed about the rule of (n/2) + 7, especially since I was teaching 14 year-olds at the time. It was awesome.
Here's my current list of resources that have given my students great things to argue about:
My kids went nuts arguing about a similar question to this "Would You Rather" found here.

These don't have to be full-on lessons. They can be warm-ups, math talks, used during classroom transitions or to break up your direct instruction, etc. I'm really looking forward to using @MathCurmudgeon's site MathArguments180.com
Imagine your students arguing about which student should pack your parachute based on this data.
Another up and coming resource is Open Middle by Robert Kaplinsky and Nanette Johnson.

What resources would you add to my content list?

Capture: I need to capture these arguments for a few reasons. Students need to listen to other students argue, especially from different classes. My memory is very porous, and I can't remember what students say verbatim. Students can listen to the recordings and pick a side, or provide their own agreement or dissent. I'd also love to share student arguments with other teachers, especially at this session. How do I capture this?

I just downloaded Voice Memos for iPad onto my school iPad. I will test it out next week with students. Wish me luck. Here are the features I'm optimistic about:
  • It will record in the background while another app is running.
  • It was $1.
  • I can pause the recording.
  • I can trim audio clips.
  • I can sync with Dropbox.
Have any tips for capturing student arguments?

Facilitation: Here's where I need to do a better job. For many of my students, English can get in the way of them articulating their point. I'd like for students to listen better to each other and respond accordingly. I want to hear what they have to say. I want them to be a contender in their disagreement, but I don't want them to be held back because of language deficiencies. Therefore, I need to provide them with sentence starters and stems. Fortunately, these can be used with any student. Here's a few:
  • My opinion about this is _____________.
  • I could argue that _____________.
  • I disagree with your statement that _____________ because _____________.
Have any stems or sentence frames you're already using with students to help them articulate their thoughts?



Out late last night filming with Robert & Brett in DTLA for an upcoming video

Night shoot

It's gonna get loud tonight 

YAY! Batteries for the SOLAR TEMPLAR!

Woohoo, we got a new shipment of batteries for Solar Templar! The whole team has been in full speed mode for over a week now. Freshman Jasen is learning the ropes about SK3 throttle. The ball is rolling and nothing is stopping this team from reaching its goals.

Moving cars around

It's all part of ownership 

DTLA nite shoot

Out scouting DTLA locations for an upcoming night time video shoot