Educators always working against common misconception!!

As I was perusing my Facebook feed, I came across an interesting post from an old friend, Ed:

  • CNN’s Michaela Pereira did a story today about which states have the “higher probability” of winning the Powerball based upon the historical percentage of winners. This drivel implies that people have a greater probability of winning based on the state they play in.

    The fact that this is seen as some level of insight into winning the lottery is beyond ignorant. It reminds me of my favorite bumper sticker “The Lottery: a tax you pay for not understanding math”

Ed is not a teacher but a engineer for Intel. I am so glad that He gets frustrated with a news report that is showing ignorance of math. It seems like a regular occurrence these days that new agencies misstate facts or run a story that improperly applies math principles.

The story, Ed is referencing, implies that someone has better odds of winning the Powerball jackpot depending on the state in which they live. When in fact,  The change of winning is fixed based on a how many numbers there are and how many there are to choose from, period. CBS news ran a similar story today too.

Simple stories like this one, seem harmless at first but the undermine the entire education system. Students are more likely to believe what they see on the news, than remember a lesson presented at school. Educators are always working against the common social misconceptions. Our media outlets need to do a better job in “informing” the public. Teachers often get the blame when students don’t understand concepts, shouldn’t we start holding all of our media outlets to this same high standard?

As a teacher, I often remind the students that anyone can be wrong, and that misconceptions exist all over our society. Fact checking from multiple sources is a must but does not always result in a “correct answer”. Just remember the next time you watch the news to be a bit skeptical, and check for common misconceptions.

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Duck Dynasty Math, Science infused instruction!

It started this morning. Where will it end?

I awoke this morning with childcare duties on my mind. Amy, my wife was off at 8 AM to help coach our 8-year-old son Griffin and his Science Olympiad Team. My duties were to feed and entertain our 4-year old twins Gavin and Grace. Grace awoke as her mom and brother were heading out the door. After a quick breakfast she started playing independently. I headed up stairs to check on Gavin, finding him snoring away, I quickly checked my e-mail and twitter account.

On twitter I noticed the #satchat had started. I joined in a with a few comments and became engaged. As #satchat wound down, I saw a great discussion starting in #rechat. All about metaphors in education. I feel that metaphors are powerful and needed to help connect and engage students in their learning. John Spencer was leading a great conversation about the need to think carefully about metaphors used in education. Their power can be helpful and also harmful if used inappropriately. As I followed the conversation stream, Barbara Madden talked about the metaphors found in the reality show Duck Dynasty. She even shared a math problem created for her class connected to the television show.  We both shared out love for the show. Talked about writing a blog post about how we could connect student learning to the ideas presented in Duck Dynasty. I commented on how I would love to “read” a blog about these lessons.

At this point Math Minds had joined in the conversation on how great Duck Dynasty would be to connect students to their learning. Conversation moved to the creation of duck calls in the classroom. Seemed similar to the “straw” recorders built in my science classroom. To create the correct sound to call in a bird, frequency will have to be taken into account. Math and Science were coming together on Duck Dynasty. Needed to be merged together in our connected lessons. As Gavin walked into the kitchen to be served his breakfast, blog posts about lessons turned into an e-book. I was going to be an author? I, the teacher who tells his students that he is not a strong writer, is going to write a book.

Scares me a bit, but I am not doing this alone. This is going to be a great collaborative project. Three Twitter teachers are starting off with the goal of creating a math and science infused instructional book based upon a reality show. We are focusing on the areas where we have “expertise”.  If any other teachers feel so inspired by Duck Dynasty that they want to join us, welcome aboard. Contact us and share lessons you would like to see used in the classroom. Who knows where this project will lead. Who knows where this project will lead. Great Blog posts for sure, a book will ultimately be pieced together. After that who knows! Maybe even a meeting with the Duck Commander Crew!!

Stay tuned in a see where it goes. At least now I can buy Duck Dynasty DVDs and write them off on my taxes.