Tag Archives: math

The Trail Time and Resting Time Calculator

The Trail Time and Resting Time Calculator can be found through the Idita-Type 2016 article in the Musher section. It is a simple Google Sheets page that the Mushers use to find out important information for the Trail Log.

Mushers enter the number of miles their team traveled in a day. The spreadsheet divides that number by an average rate of 5 mph to determine the number of running hours. The resting time is the difference between a 24 hour day and the number of running hours on the trail.

Idita-Type: All of the excitement of two dog teams in one room

The “second-ever in the history of the world” Iditarod typing race took place today at Eagle Academy Charter School.  Today’s contestants were two teams of 6th graders.

The similarities between the racers’ positions and a real dog team were amazing.

  • The Musher has to keep track of all of the team members, making sure that they are completing their tasks.
  • The Wheel dogs are responsible for getting the team going on each new day’s run.
  • The Team dogs keep track of all of the sights along the trail.
  • The Swing dogs back up and assist the Leader
  • The Lead dogs have to figure out where the trail is and how far the team is getting.
  • The Race Marshal makes sure all of the rules are being followed and verifying official team positions.

The refinements I discussed yesterday made the process much smoother today. I made a new document for the Team Dogs: every one of them had their own Trail Log to keep track of the pins they created on the shared map.

We still had the issue of one person losing the trail map, and it didn’t reappear even with a different browser. Don’t know what to think about that.

Other changes: have the Swing Dogs be in charge of providing pictures and text to each day’s position pin.  Make the text a journal entry of how their team performed.


IditaRead: Using the RANDBETWEEN function in MS Excel to practice plotting team positions

Check out the functionality of the MS Excel IditaRead workbooks by using the RANDBETWEEN function on the Data sheet.

RANDBETWEEN allows you to set minimum and maximum integers, so you can see how team positions might play out by generating random numbers.

For example, if your target reading time per day is 45 minutes, consider students reading between 0 and 60 minutes per day.  Your formula would then be =RANDBETWEEN(0,60)

Screen shot 2016-02-25 at 9.24.40 AM

Put this formula in the Day 1 cell on the Data sheet and Fill Down for all your readers.  Check the Trail Position sheet for exact locations of each team and pin them on your Google map.

Screen shot 2016-02-26 at 6.34.51 PM
Exact positioning of team positions on the trail.

Screen shot 2016-02-25 at 9.21.24 AM

More Math Brain Glitches

More examples of how you can’t take your brain seriously sometimes.

Addition Error

First column: 6+9+8+9=42?


Division Error

(4 goes into 6) 4 times?


Copying the problem incorrectly

130.59 was supposed to be 139.59

Subtraction Error


The math doesn’t match the question.


Misreading the given facts.


How did the 63 fish become 64?


Misreading the number line.

How many lines after 0.3?

Failure to regroup

7 + 5 = 2 carry the 1

Failure to count decimal places

1 place + 1 place = ?

Always check the easiest problems

5 * 4 = 25?

Math Brain Glitches Illustrated


OK, here are a few examples from the minds of some very brainy math students working way above grade level:

Example 1: Move on before you finish the problem


Example 2: You got WHAT when you subtracted?


Example 3:  20% the same as /20?


Example 4: Answer only part of a 2-part question.


Example 5: Are you sure that’s lowest terms?


Example 6:  We love equivalent fractions.mathglitches4

I keep sayin’, “Check your answers to the easiest problems. Those are the ones you’re going to miss.”



Math Brain Glitches

Last week my advanced math students completed another unit assessment.  These kids are amazing, but every one of them got some answers incorrect because of brain glitches.  There’s no reason why just about every one of the students couldn’t  have gotten all of the answers correct.

I’m going to ask for their tests back, scan their answer sheets, and snip out the ones they missed.  I’ll upload them here and show you what I mean.  Should be pretty interesting.

Khan Academy Middle School Math

I found some tips on using Khan Academy for Math today:

While I was excited with this first Khan Academy mission I longed for a specific grade level mission that I could assign to my students. Khan heard my request (and I’m sure the request of many other teachers) and has recently introduced their grade level missions. Now my advanced 6th graders can take the 7th grade math mission and my regular classes can take the 6th grade math mission.
These individual grade level missions focus specifically on the grade level math standards (as well as the important pre-requisite standards from previous grade levels) that our students will need to excel in math. (Note: I recommend that all math teachers select and begin their own mission, in a grade level that they teach, so that they can experience and understand Khan Academy from the students’ perspective.)


This is what I did; I became a student in my own Khan Academy class. In addition, I’ve been publishing Khan Academy standings on our Math 7 web site, as well as  work completion standings of our Saxon Math program.

Anytime something new is developed and used with students, it takes awhile to assess the impact.  So far, the combination of standard math instruction with supplemental online individualized instruction has been extremely useful in finding where student gaps in learning and study skills are revealing themselves.