Hands-On History: Ancient Technology

The topics we cover in ancient history may seem a bit irrelevant to some (foolish) kids, but when we use hands-on, project-based learning, we give our students a tangible, memorable connection to the material they are learning.  Conveniently, most ancient technology is so simple, kids can reconstruct it themselves.  Here are just a couple of … Continue reading Hands-On History: Ancient Technology

Hands On History: Egyptian Senet

Kids just love studying ancient Egypt.  I never have a hard time getting them fired up about studying pyramids and mummies, as you can see from the KWL chart my 8th graders started below: (As a side note, I always photograph group brainstorms like this so that we can return to them later.  When we … Continue reading Hands On History: Egyptian Senet

Hands-On History: Timelines

Teaching world history in a single year provides me with some exceptional challenges.  We cover so much content in such a short time that I really have to remain on track and make tough decisions about what we can and can't cover.  If you are teaching your own kids, I strongly recommend a four-year cycle for … Continue reading Hands-On History: Timelines

Mother Education: Read All The Things

A brief look into my own continuing education today. Our Archbishop recently sent a letter to all the schools that included some suggested reading from a chapter in Tom Wood's How The Catholic Church Built Western Civilization. As I teach Western Civ in a Catholic school, it seemed I should probably read the whole thing. … Continue reading Mother Education: Read All The Things

Tessellation Tip

In order to keep them from crawling up the walls in their last week before summer vacation, I've given my seventh graders a tessellation project.  There are about ten million youtube videos explaining how to do this, so I won't bore you with the basics.  Instead, I'll just tell you about my struggles and how … Continue reading Tessellation Tip

Area of Mixed Polygons

In 7th grade math, we're working on area.  We've gone through all of the basic formulas with careful attention to how they are related to one another -- the triangle being half of a rectangle, the trapezoid being a combination of two triangles, and so forth. Now we're on to area of mixed polygons, such … Continue reading Area of Mixed Polygons

Units vs. Square Units (vs. Cubic Units)

When teaching basic geometry concepts, such as perimeter and area, you will save yourself quite a bit of grief if you start by making clear the difference between units and square units. Our common abbreviations for these, such as cm and cm², look deceivingly similar to each other and are easily confused by students who … Continue reading Units vs. Square Units (vs. Cubic Units)

Pythagorean Theorem Follow-Up: Solution

Monday I asked my students to determine whether this triangle was equilateral, isosceles, or scalene, and to prove their answer.  The hint is in the post title: this is a Pythagorean Theorem activity.  Here is the original triangle: If you said "isosceles," you're correct!  Here's the proof, using Pythagoras's Theorem. The hypotenuse of the right triangle, … Continue reading Pythagorean Theorem Follow-Up: Solution