Tuesday, December 8, 2015

The Frisch Math Team - the most impressive athletes on campus!

Frisch is proud to have many boys’ and girls’ winning sports teams.  From our back to back champion boys’ varsity baseball team to our three time yeshiva league girls’ volleyball team, there is a lot of competing and winning that occurs with Frisch athletes. There is another team at Frisch though that is not as well known but is also competing and winning all the time….The Frisch Math League Team!

The Frisch Math League is comprised of around 20+ students from all four grade levels.  With plans to create our own team jersey, this group of math minded young men and women are bright, determined, and eager to show their academic prowess.  The team has already had an activity filled year with more events planned for the next few months.

For those of you who don’t know, Frisch competes in two yeshiva Math bowls, one at SAR and another at Heschel.  These two events are highlights of the year where students get to compete against the best and brightest math students in the greater yeshiva community.  Just as many people know of the student athletes in basketball or hockey, so too do these students know of the best math minds at other schools.  With awe and admiration, they relish the chance to compete head to head or mind to mind shall we say with their friends and peers in these intense all day math competitions.

The Frisch math team also takes part in the New Jersey Math League.  Just this week the team took exam #3  out of six administered by the state high . A sample question from an exam last year is the following:

“Suppose a hotel has rooms numbered 1-14 and keys also numbered 1-14 BUT the room numbers and key numbers do not have to match. Instead, the keys are assigned to the rooms so that the sum of the room number and the key number is always an exact multiple of 3. How many ways can this be done ?

(The answer is 345,600)”

The five highest scores are entered into a state database and we are ranked against some of the best private and public high schools in the state.  We are proud to say that we even had a 6/6 ( a perfect score) on the first exam this year from a freshman!  Few students if any will score a perfect 6/6 in their entire high school careers but Frisch students have done that impressive feat repeatedly!


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Math Team Athletes taking a New Jersey Math League Exam

The Math Team has many future events coming up including the AMC 10 and AMC 12 exams in February and a possible shabbaton/yeshiva math competition at Yale University in April.  Always eager for more opportunities to do math competitively, the team enjoys a full plate of activities.

Besides competing in various state and national competitions, the Math League also meets twice a month after school.  The sessions vary between practicing for the various math competitions to listening to presentations from guest speakers.  This past math team meeting Frisch faculty member Mr. Herb Grossman presented on the Binomial Theorem.  It was a fascinating talk which the students loved.  They have already requested that he come back no less than two more times to discuss possibly determinants and conic sections. Future presenters will include Mrs. Rhona Flaumenhaft of the Frisch math department discussing polar coordinates and the team’s own president Gabriel Dardik ‘16 who will be speaking about non-Euclidean Geometry.

The remainder of the year for the Math Team will be fun, educational and full of numbers….exactly how these athletes like it!  

Monday, November 30, 2015

9th grade Centroid Activity by Frisch math teacher Debbie Stein

One of my favorite ways that I like to enhance instruction in my math classroom, particularly in Geometry, is by using hands-on learning with my students.  This  has them in effect learn by discovery.  Nothing beats watching my students as they actively engage in the learning process by exploring concepts, answering questions and discovering new relationships.   As they work in cooperative groups I can see their confidence and self-esteem grow as they assume responsibilities within the team. In addition to this, I usually find that my students show higher comprehension of the concepts that they discovered on their own.

I introduced this activity to my students after we discussed the median and midpoint of a triangle.  I then explained to them that the centroid of a triangle is the center of gravity for a triangle.  The students were assigned a group where they constructed triangles, located the midpoints of each side of the triangle, drew in medians and then located the centroid which happens to be the intersection of the medians of the triangle.  The students were able to prove that the centroid is the point of balance by threading a knotted string through the centroid and watching their triangle balance as they held up the string.


I then had each group measure and record the distances from the midpoint to the centroid and the centroid to the vertex of the triangle.  The students were excited to see and discover a pattern!  They came to realize through the hands-on lesson that the distance from the centroid to the vertex of a triangle will always be twice the distance from the midpoint to the centroid of a triangle.C:\Users\debbie\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\INetCache\IE\G7Y3NPXJ\IMG_3458.jpg

As an extension to this activity, the students went through a process of locating the center of balance for an L-shaped figure.  Students were quick to discover, as they all created L-shapes of different sizes, that while the centroid of a triangle must always lie inside the triangle, the centroid of an L-shaped figure will not always lie inside the shape.

It was  a fun and educational activity for  my 9th grade class  right before Thanksgiving break. They really  “learned  by doing”!

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Sunday, October 25, 2015

"GoFormative" " New Technology for a New School Year

In many classrooms, formative assessments are given during the learning process in order to modify teaching and learning activities to improve student attainment, but are difficult to administer and grade in a timely fashion without the assessment's initial purpose getting lost. Goformative.com, a new website that I learned about during ISTE this past summer, has transformed the way in which I assign and grade formative assessments. "Formative" is a user-friendly website which allows teachers to create original or embed preexisting material into short assessments. A simple quiz takes only minutes to create. 


Intervene in the moments that matter most.

The true beauty of "Formative", though, is the ability to grade - and send feedback about - students' results in real-time. Students were enthused to receive scores and feedback instantly, and as a teacher I find it exhilarating to see and mark students instantly. The first time that I launched the website, I showed the results on the SmartBoard, capitalizing on the pulsing excitement in the room. 

I've been in constant contact with the founders of Goformative.com since my discovery of the website - from a private Google Hangout with one of the primary founders, tweets with them on Twitter, and live chats where I have asked specific questions and received specific responses via email. I look forward to using this program throughout the year and tracking students' progress in a more efficient and exciting way. 

by Mrs. Shira Techiman
Math Teacher and Enthusiast

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Summer is a fabulous time to learn!

The Frisch Math Department once again is having a successful and productive summer. Various members of the department have taken advantage of a little down time to brush up on their own teaching and technology skills.  Teaching is truly a 12 month job for professionals are serious and devoted as the Frisch Math Department.

The summer learning got off to a great start when Elissa Katz, Shira Teichman, Rhona Flaumenhaft, Sabrina Bernath along with seven other Frisch faculty members attending the ISTE 2015 conference in Philadelphia at the end of June.  The annual three day conference is the the singlest largest edtech gathering of teachers and vendors in the country.  From large ( 400+) lecture sessions to small group settings in the Playground section, Frisch math teachers learned from expert in the field of educational technology and pedagogy.  Besides several hundred daily sessions on blended learning, flipped classrooms, real time assessment to choose from, teachers walked the Expo floor to learn about the latest software and apps in the marketplace. It was an exhausting and inspiring trip that each one of us walked away from with many new and exciting ideas. We can wait to try out all that we learned.

Here is a photo of Rabbi Pittinsky, Director of Educational Technology, Dr.Mindy Furman, Head of the Science Department, Rifki Silverman, Head of Engineering, Ahuva Mantell, Head of the Arts Program, and Rhona Flaumenhaft, math department faculty member up late at night learning how to set up Twitter accounts.

Frisch Faculty collaborating and learning into the night.

A week after ISTE, Frisch math faculty member Elissa Katz was yet again back in school learning.  She attended a week long College Board summer session on AP Statistics at Fordham University. Besides learning the recent changes to the exam, Elissa was given a chance to relearn many ideas from her graduate studies in Statistics with the benefit of newer and more advance technology. She said the teacher and course were "amazing".  Here is a cute picture of her working hard  in one of the sessions.

A highlight of the Frisch calendar for teachers is actually August when Rabbi Tzvi Pittinsky, the Director of Educational Technology, runs his one of kind Technology Boot Camp. His month long schedule of progressive and innovative sessions are highly anticipated each year as teachers look forward to learning from a recognized expert in the world of edtech.

This past Monday, six members of the Frisch math department met with Rabbi Pittinsky to learn about and explore Educanon and Formative. Educanon is a web based tool which allows a teacher to create a virtual worksheet for a preexisting video.  Rather than ask questions about the content discussed in the film at the end, Educanon pauses the video and allows the teacher to ask multiple choice, fill in the blank, and free response questions which it then grades and records the results on a teacher dashboard.  It is a powerful tool to assess student's learning.  Formative is an online formative assessment tool.  By giving your students' a class code, students and  their device of choice are automatically  entered into your "online classroom".  All work they perform with their device is visible to the teacher on their iPad or laptop.   With a choir of "oh" and "ahs" as the two programs were demoed, both Educanon and Formative will be sure to be utilized in your child's math classroom this Fall.

Mrs. Teichman demos Formative to members of the Math Department.

With so much excitement building about the upcoming school year, the math department is eager to get things started.  It is going to be a great year and we look forward to working with your child soon!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Math Never Hiberates!!!!

While things might be chilly outside the Frisch math department is far from hibernating.  Besides the exciting teaching occurring in a typical school day, there is a great deal of math being explored both by our students and teachers outside of the classroom.


The Frisch Math Team has just taken the 5th out of 6 New Jersey math league contest exam. It is an annual series of contests which ask questions not typical in a high school math classroom. On this past exam one question was “ Suppose a hotel has rooms numbered 1- 14 and keys also numbered 1-14 BUT the room numbers and key numbers do not have to match.  Instead, the keys are assigned to the rooms so that the sum of the room number and the key number is always an exact multiple of 3.  How many ways can this be done?”  Not your average problem ...right?  The answer is at the end of this blog.  Many of our mathematically inclined cougars on this popular “ team” have been getting 6/ 6 on these contests which is nothing less than incredible considering that they only have 30 minutes each contest to complete all 6 questions.  

Even students not on our “Math Team” are welcome to take the American Math Contest (AMC 10 and 12) later this month.  The AMC is a 75 minute multiple choice exam to identify the very best math students in the country.  The AMC 10 covers basic algebra and geometry.  The AMC 12 covers all of high school mathematics with the exception of calculus.  Those who qualify based on their scores in the AMC 12 are given the opportunity to compete in the International Math Olympiad.  We hope Frisch will be represented!

Students are not the only ones busy outside of class time. The teachers of the math department are busy learning about the latest online math programs in their weekly tech meetings.  They recently had an online session with a representative from KnowRe.  This coming week they are having a representative from “Think Through Math”  give an in-person presentation to our whole department.   Texas Instruments and Ten Marks are other vendors they will be meeting in the Spring as they continue to explore the best online math platforms for our students.


Additionally, to continue to foster their own professional growth, several members of our department will be returning to New Brunswick this March to attend the 29th Annual “ Good Ideas in Teaching PreCalc and…” conference through the DIMAS Center, the Center for Discrete Mathematics and Theoretical Computer Science,  at Rutgers University.  We are honored that our Math Department Chair Mrs. Sabrina Bernath has been chosen to present at this conference for the first time. Her topic is, “The Use of Technology for Differentiated Instruction in Algebra I and Algebra 2”.  She is looking forward to sharing the successful and innovative approaches already being used at Frisch.  

Below is a picture from last year’s PreCalc conference at Rutgers of several Frisch math teachers.  They loved being students once again!

It is only March so there is still a great deal more math in the coming weeks.  Students and teachers are working hard to have our most productive and successful year yet. By the way the answer to the question about the hotel rooms and the keys is 345,600 but I am sure you already knew that.