Geometry, Scale Factor

Far Side Expansion

repost from Make Math Not Suck

I have been doing this activity LONG before computers were a staple in the classroom. (We won’t talk about how many years that’s been!) I love this project now as much as I did when I started.

I used to have a Far Side by Gary Larson desk calendar and each year I would keep the images and use it for this project. I don’t buy the desk calendar anymore, but you can find Larson’s comic’s online.

I take the comics and cut them equally into 3-4 congruent parts (depending on my groups). Students must work in groups of 3-4 to decide on a grid size for their original and a scaled paper size and grid size. Once they’ve worked together to draw this in, they start sketching their drawing box-by-box. We spend about 4 -50 minute class periods on this project.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The students have a lot of fun with this and are proud of their product when finished. It also reinforces teamwork. When one person doesn’t complete their part, a picture is hung up for viewing incomplete. So sad.

Here is the planning guide I use for this project. If you use it, post about about it on Twitter, and tag me @MandiTolenEDU.

App, Area, Geometry, Google Slides, Uncategorized

Apps with Google Slides

I stumbled across this post by @micahshippee on Kasey Bell’s website Micah is part of my Google Innovator Cohort and he is amazing.

Micah created an activity where students use Google Slides to create an “app” that you can load on your phone or tablet. I decided to use this wonderful idea to review area formulas. My students created an app where you could click a button and find the formula and an example for each shape. I love when you create a project that students are excited about! This project fits that description.

Bonuses: Students were VERY ENGAGED. They were still working when the bell rang and didn’t really want to stop. They were helping each other, critiquing without being prompted, and giving great advice. I was MORE THAN excited when students came into class the day the assignment was due with the app already loaded on their phone. They were soooo proud!  I think, as an extension of this activity, we will share our apps with lower grade levels, who are learning about area for the first time, and have them give us feedback through Flipgrid.

Here is the activity I gave the students. My instructions are taken directly from Micah’s post because they are so thorough. He is cited in the activity.

Create an App for AREA (1)

I’ve also included some of the apps created by my students. OMGee, they make my heart happy. You should be able to click on the phone below and it will open a Google Drawing file where the links are active. If you use this activity, please share on Twitter and tag me @MandiTolenEDU and @micahshippee.

Imagine what else you could do with this activity!!!


Bitmoji, Geometry, Google Slides, Stop Motion, Triangle Congruence

Stop Motion Videos

Stop Motion videos in Google Slides is such an easy project for teachers and students. I first learned about Stop Motion from @ericcurts on his blog Control Alt Achieve. @jmattmiller also has some fun stop motion information on his blog too.

I created a super short little stop motion that I turned into an animated gif using Tall Tweets then embedded into a Google slide presentation, even cropping it because it acts as an image.

download (12)

Screen Shot 2018-09-29 at 9.03.02 PM.png

Stop motion videos are super easy to make in Google Slides. For the one above, I created background then I drug in my Bitmoji and placed it at the top.



Screen Shot 2018-09-29 at 9.04.15 PM

Next you duplicate the slide and using the arrow keys or sliding with your mouse, move your image a little bit.




Screen Shot 2018-09-29 at 9.16.20 PM.png Continue the process until you have moved your object to the end.  This short little movie had 11 slides total.

Now the fun begins. Using the website Tall Tweets, load your Google Slide, this sometimes takes a bit depending on the size. Next, select the duration. Play with this a little until the movie looks like you want. You can check by clicking the create gif button. When you are happy with your movie, you can save it or tweet it.

Screen Shot 2018-09-29 at 9.08.47 PM

Below are some stop motion videos I created for a Triangle Congruence lesson. So yes, you can use stop motion for academic purposes too. Image how much fun it would be for students to create their own!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

If you make stop motion videos, please share and tag me on Twitter @TTmomTT. I would LOVE to see them!

Choose Your Own Adventure, Geometry, Google Forms, Solving Equations

Choose Your Own Adventure *Updated*

A lesson is only as good as the updates you make. This activity, which I first blogged about here and here, came from Ditch That Textbook by Matt Miller. I love this idea and now use it as an alternative assessment activity. Please go back and read how this started for me.

One reason I love this activity so much is because it gives students choice and freedom of topic, they become the teacher so they learn the content more deeply, they peer edit which is a very crucial skill, and this year I added a Flipgrid component in collaboration with another school.

I have updated my planning documents a little. They are posted on the posts, but this will be the most up-to-date document I have. I have also created a Google Slide presentation so very little teacher direction is needed. Another update I made this year was to increase the level of peer editing. Students do not intuitively know how to do this, so I updated the document so they have a little more guidance. Lastly, and probably the most exciting part for me, was creating these CYOA stories for a sister class in another district. We sent them our completed stories and then each student left feedback via Flipgrid. We’ve sent our stories to this district before but having video Feedback through Flipgrid was amazing and meant a lot more for my students.

I’ve included some fun examples from this year. I encouraged my Geometry students to create circular images as part of the story.  You can check the links above for examples from previous years including some Algebra 1 examples.

Screen Shot 2018-06-22 at 7.26.53 PM           Screen Shot 2018-06-22 at 7.29.53 PMScreen Shot 2018-06-22 at 7.32.39 PM

Including the Flipgrid responses from our sister school was an amazing addition. My students loved seeing the faces and hearing their reviewers. It also made the audience “authentic” to them. We did get permission from their parents for my students to view them but we did not include releasing it publically so I can’t share the link to the grid. I’ve included a screenshot of the grid below.

Screen Shot 2018-06-22 at 8.10.36 PMScreen Shot 2018-06-22 at 8.10.08 PM

You can find a link to my resources below.

Planning Guide – 2018 CYOA Scoring Guide-Algebra

2018 Choose Your Own Adventure Planning Guide-Geometry

Slide Presentation – CYOA Planning Guide.png

Student Peer Review Document – 2018 CYOA Scoring Guide-Algebra

2018 CYOA Scoring Guide-Geometry

Here is an example of a peer review. In my experience, you need to model this for your students. I have, in the past, peer-edited my own story with the class so they see what to look for.

Screen Shot 2018-06-22 at 8.20.25 PM

Please give credit to Matt Miller and me if you use this idea. It has been a fabulous learning experience in my classroom and I look forward to the next update!



Chromebook, Geometry, Google Drawing, Google Forms, performance task, technology

CYOA Geometry Style

Choose Your Own Adventure was such a success in Algebra that we wanted to try it in Geometry. This served as our unit 7 assessment. We followed the same process that we did here but I did update the process so students could plan electronically using this planning form. I also had students create this in New Forms so the process is slightly different than my original post.

The biggest difference between old Forms and new Forms is inserting a page compared to new section.

Untitled drawing (4)

We also used Google Drawing so students could create their geometry problems using tangents, secants, arcs & chords. Many students had never used Google Drawing and they were very excited how nice their images looked.

Two Tangents

Students had to get 3 peer reviews, which meant a student worked through their adventure, correct and incorrect answers, then gave feedback on improvements. They used this document to guide them through the peer reviews.  The result SHOULD have been a product that met all of the requirements. Some students don’t peer edit as well as other but they learned quickly that being NICE doesn’t help you improve.

Here are a few of my favorite projects. I told them I wouldn’t publish them unless they were correct. 🙂

Journey to Pasta

Royals Rally

First Day of School

Making it to the Movies


Geometry, Uncategorized

Popcorn Containers

To reinforce the formula for the volume of a cone, I have my students create a cone and cylinder with the same radius and height, I pop a huge bag of popcorn, then we see if 3 cones full of popcorn will fill their cylinder.  I could have my students google the process of making a cone with a specific height but it takes awhile so I give them the process.  If you have a few days to spend on it, having them come up with the process would be a great way to add rigor to the project.  I’ve added my note sheet at the bottom that includes the process and reflection.

Popcorn Container Doc

Geometry, technology, Uncategorized

Superhero Transformations

I found this project a few years ago and I’ve had the students create them on paper.  The products are always very impressive and students love the project.  The original link can be found here. This year I wanted the students to create online using Google Docs and Draw.  It was a little bit of a learning curve, but I like that the student used the transformation tools built into Google Docs.  I’ve posted a few examples below and also my updated version of the original project I linked to above.  It really helps the students visualize transformations and helps them use this vocabulary in context of their situation.

Comic Transformation Map - Madelyn Fuller




Information Sheet & Scoring Guide