Wednesday, September 14, 2016

CIS(theta), 2016-2017 September Meeting: Administrativa!

CIS(theta), 2016-2017 
September MeetingAdministrativa!

(1) Wreath of the Unknown Server: We visited our first ssh/sftp server, Colossus, which is still in the switch room, though dormant. I set it up for the first time in 1995 running Slackware Linux. Colossus ran for over 12 years, 24x7 never having to shut down, reboot or even have anything re-installed!

(2) Planning: We have to wait a few weeks or so at which point Ubuntu 16.10 64bit Desktop Edition, code named Yakkety Yak, should be available for a mini install fest. I suppose we could use 16.04.1 LTS, Xenial Xerus, which is available now, but I think we'll wait. After that, we will look into installing our Linux Cluster using openMPI and MPI4py!

(3) Display Case Unveiled: We took down a ton of fractal prints and ray tracings from Room 429 to the 2 display cases on the 1st floor near the art wing. We decorated both display cases as best we could and left before anyone saw us. Must have been gremlins. BTW, we're looking into getting an HDTV with DVD player built in to show case student work in these display cases.

(4) NCSHS: We're going to continue our chapter of the National Computer Science Honor Society. We talked about the requirements for membership and how we started a chapter. Each chapter is called "Zeta Omicron something." We're "Zeta Omicron NY Hopper." This is a pretty new honor society. The first few chapters were called Zeta Omicron Alpha and Omicron Zeta Beta. We have the first NYS chapter!


Membership (alphabetic by first name):
CIS(theta) 2016-2017: 
DanielD(12), JevanyI(12), JuliaL(12), MichaelS(12), YaminiN(12)

CIS(theta) 2015-2016: 
BenR(11), BrandonL(12), DavidZ(12), GabeT(12), HarrisonD(11), HunterS(12), JacksonC(11), SafirT(12), TimL(12)

CIS(theta) 2014-2015: 
BryceB(12), CheyenneC(12), CliffordD(12), DanielP(12), DavidZ(12), GabeT(11), KeyhanV(11), NoelS(12), SafirT(11)

CIS(theta) 2013-2014: 
BryanS(12), CheyenneC(11), DanielG(12), HarineeN(12), RichardH(12), RyanW(12), TatianaR(12), TylerK(12)

CIS(theta) 2012-2013: 
Kyle Seipp(12)

CIS(theta) 2011-2012: 
Graham Smith(12), George Abreu(12), Kenny Krug(12), LucasEager-Leavitt(12)

CIS(theta) 2010-2011: 
David Gonzalez(12), Herbert Kwok(12), Jay Wong(12), Josh Granoff(12), Ryan Hothan(12)

CIS(theta) 2009-2010: 
Arthur Dysart(12), Devin Bramble(12), Jeremy Agostino(12), Steve Beller(12)

CIS(theta) 2008-2009: 
Marc Aldorasi(12), Mitchel Wong(12)

CIS(theta) 2007-2008: 
Chris Rai(12), Frank Kotarski(12), Nathaniel Roman(12)

CIS(theta) 1988-2007: 
A. Jorge Garcia, Gabriel Garcia, James McLurkin, Joe Bernstein, ... too many to mention here!

Well, that's all folks,
A. Jorge Garcia
Applied Math, Physics and CS
2015 NYS Secondary Math PAEMST Nominee

Happy Linux Clustering, 
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Friday, September 9, 2016

BSHS 2016-2017 Week 1: Welcome Back!

BSHS 2016-2017 Week1:
Welcome Back!

It's our first week of classes back from Summer! 

Tuesday was all about Seating Charts and Book Cards and Syllabi and the Original Sound Track of a A Beautiful Mind playing in the background. I tried posting everything I could on Edmodo so as not to kill trees and have time to start a lesson! PreCalc was amazed by Radian Mode. AP Calc was floored by 2-Sided Limits. AP CompSci managed to log into the server from class, begin and login from home via TeamViewer!

Wednesday was our first YouTube Wednesday. Of course, we had to start with Tom Lehrer's New Math with an explanation of base 8 numbers!

Thursday was a regular day of class but we did celebrate Star Trek Day 9/8/16. This day marks the 50th anniversary of the live broadcast of the first ever Star Trek episode on NBC at 8:30 pm! I am told that I saw it live when I was 4 years old....

I know it's not YouTube Wednesday, but Friday I had to start with the "Frozen PreCalc" Filk by one of my students. She wrote this filk to show that even though you may struggle at first in this class, there is hope if you work at it!

OK, here's some of the handouts from the first day:

Well, that's all folks,

Well, that's all folks,
A. Jorge Garcia
Applied Math, Physics and CS
2015 NYS Secondary Math PAEMST Nominee

Teaching with Technology, 
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Thursday, September 1, 2016

BSHS 2016-2017 Day 1: Tech & Decor

BSHS 2016-2017 Day 1:
Tech & Decor
It's our first day back from Summer, yeah!

We're all alone here this week without the little darlings. This week, we only have 2 days of meetings, meetings and then more meetings?

There's already a full schedule of meetings planed for today and tomorrow, Thursday and Friday, 9/1-9/2. I had to come in early, leave late and skip lunch just to decorate my room.

Also, the tables, chairs, PCs and cables were all in dissarray with no power or networking! Guess who had to fix all that....

Somehow, I put Humpty Dumpty back together again before the students arrived on Tuesday 9/6/16!

I wish I had some before and after pictures so you could see the difference. Here's how the room turned out:

Flag + WhiteBoards
SmartBoard + QuadCores
Mascot + FractalPrint
AC + NewShades
Analog Clock + New Chairs
sftp Linux Server + New Graphics
Bulletin Boards + New Teacher PC
Slide Rule + Box With New AC Unit


Well, that's all folks,
A. Jorge Garcia
Applied Math, Physics and CS
2015 NYS Secondary Math PAEMST Nominee

Teaching with Technology, 
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Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Let's Dump Those Good Old GCs!

Let's Dump Those Good Old GCs!
(excerpt from recent thread on AP Calc Forum)
I love teaching AP Computer Science, but that's not what I'm talking about here. Our Honors Math students, at the very least, should be exposed to computing as it's used in upper level mathematics and science majors or professions. 

This area of study is commonly referred to as Computing Science or Scientific Computing. Many of my students go on to some of the Big Tech or Ivy League schools for a major in Engineering or the Sciences. In said fields students and professionals will be programming computers to solve their problems. These professionals may use a programming language such as Python, C++ or Java. More likely, they will use a mathematical programming environment such as MATLAB, Mathematica or SPSS. Alternatively, I try to expose my students to FLOSS (Free Linux Open Source Software) versions: Octave, SAGE or R respectively (we use Linux a lot).

These past couple of years I thought I'd replace the TI83/84 in my preCalculus classes. Since preCalculus is mostly a terminal course for Seniors (not Honors) in High School whereby a Graphing Calculator is not required (no Regents or AP), I thought this would be a great place to experiment. The classes took to this approach very well. These students even felt special and accomplished when they told their peers in other classes that they were coders! I did keep the coding to a minimum, however, using predefined functions in SAGE

Early in the year (Sept), I did use pure Python coding for Sequences and Series as the List Data Structure, List Comprehensions and For Loops are very easy to introduce here. Later on (June), we were able to build on Sequence and Series when we got to Reimann Sums. Here's a playlist from that course.

Many schools nowadays have a 1-to-1 program where every student and teacher use some sort of compatible device provided by the school. Some schools, like mine, give out Graphing Calculators to everyone at the beginning of the year like a textbook. This way, everyone can use the same technology in class and at home. Some schools give out Tablets, unlike mine, whether it be an iPad or an Android, and use an app like Desmos or Geogrbra or even a TI Emulator. Don't forget, there's always a "App for that" or that "Droid does!"

Why not leverage the devices we already have? Most students and teachers have a Cell Phone or Tablet capable of coding with an online IDE, an app or a computing environment such as SAGE! As you can see from recent posts to this blog, the amount of python coding needed isn't much or hard to learn: 

Python, Sage or GC!

Of course, you could get a little carried away and teach a lot more (see the side panels of my blog for SAGE samples from all of the topics in preCalc and AB Calc).

I let my preCalculus students use SAGECELL in class and at home without a problem. I also let students use their own TI83/84 if they have one and prefer to use a Graphing Calculator at times as a mater of taste. I do not expose my AP Calculus students to any of this until after the AP Exam as they need to use a Graphing Calculator on the exam. Take a look at any playlist on my YouTube channel labeled "LAC" (Life After Calculus) for examples of what we do after the exam. 

Using Python in SAGECELL or REPL or VPython in GlowScript very easy to use and teach. These environments are to python as Processing and OpenProcessing are to Java. So, I may use Java in Math class too!

I was one of the first to promote the use of Graphing Calculators back in the early 1990s. Everyone was resistant to change back then. If a particular technology were not required on a particular exam, I think more people would be receptive to change now. Why saddle our kids with outdated tech that costs about $100 per calculator when they already have a ton of tech in their pocket or backpack?


Well, that's all folks,
A. Jorge Garcia
Applied Math, Physics and CS
2015 NYS Secondary Math PAEMST Nominee

Teaching with Technology, 
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Friday, July 29, 2016

How To Part II 2016: Good Old Graphing Calculators!

How To Part II 2016: 
Good Old Graphing Calculators!
We just had our Graduation Day at the High School. I suppose that's my unofficial start to Summer. I will miss my Seniors, we had a great year together. The whole week before graduation I was finishing up a series of YouTube ScreenCasts about solving this year's AP Calculus Exam Part IIA. This playlist serves as a summary of this year's Final Project! 

Part IIA is the first Free Response section of the AP Calculus Exam. This section consists of 2 AB or 2 BC questions requiring the use of a Graphing Calculator. AB1 and BC1 are the same question. AB2 and BC2 are different. Below you will find the solutions to these Free Response Questions in the following order: AB2, AB1/BC1, BC2. In this fashion, we covered AB only questions first, then AB/BC questions and finally BC only questions, ie in order of increasing difficulty.

For over 2 decades, I have been teaching my students to complete this section using a TI89. Most schools still use a TI83 or TI84. These past 2 years, my students have been using a class set of TI nSpire CX CAS graphing calculators that were donated to my classroom via DonorsChoose. Thanx to all my donors, my students are indeed very fortunate!

There are 4 functions a Graphing Calculator needs to perform to be allowed on the AP Exam: 

1) Graphing in an arbitrary window, 
2) Solving for the roots of an equation, 
3) Finding Numerical Derivatives and 
4) Finding Definite Integrals. 

All of these capabilities are demonstrated in the ScreenCasts listed below using a TI84C, TI92 (similar to TI89) and TI nSpire CX CAS:

2016AB2a) Numerical Derivative
2016AB2b) Numerical Root
2016AB2c) Definite Integral
2016AB2d) Definite Integral

2016AB1c/BC1c) Definite Integral

2016BC2a) Definite Integral
2016BC2d) Definite Integral

PS, here's a shot from the traffic jam I hit going home after the graduation!

Have A Great Summer 2016!!!

Well, that's all folks,
A. Jorge Garcia
Applied Math, Physics and CS
2015 NYS Secondary Math PAEMST Nominee

Teaching with Technology, 
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