Time to Prepare for POLs and End of the Semester


Whew!!  What a way to jump back into the swing of things….preparing for POLS and closing out the semester.  You all have been working very hard preparing for your POLS all this week and you are cleaning up/wrapping up your 1st semester grades; namely, your chemistry questions, your Black Belt Advancement, and the 3rd and final Black Belt scroll.  Also, we spend some time reviewing the Chemistry set of questions and I handed out the study guide for next Fridays Semester Final Exam…..Yikes!  What’s that?  It’s a final wrap up to test your understanding of what we have been working on all this semester.  A high school level activity for sure.  I gave you the study guide today so that you can start to make notes on the key questions/topics for the exam.  I will also post the questions on Google Classroom so you can access there.

VERY IMPORTANT:  Please start preparing this weekend by :

1) Put the polishing touches on your POL- practice presenting

2)  Start studying for the final exam…I recommend going through the chemistry questions and through the www.chem4kids.com site.

3)  Practice and work on your Black Belt Scroll so you can get your Black Belt….(if you haven’t already?)

We will be doing more studying and notes to prepare for next week’s final exam!

“Failing to prepare is preparing to fail”  so do something about it NOW!

Your Master Sensei,

Mr. Holmes

Being Thankful for Solving Equations


Wow!  The Bridging the Gap Exhibition was amazing!  There were great bridges, great presentations, and of course some great destructions of the bridges.  Here are a few pics:

IMG_3871 IMG_3882 IMG_3868 IMG_3874

The Bridging the Gap Project encompassed so much more though than building toothpick bridges, I hope you saw the value of working on a team, managing resources, being resourcefu (thinking differently), learning stuff to earn what you need to be able to do, and staying on task.  It’s time to start moving…hmmmm…should I say hovering to a new project where yes, you will be building again!

For now, before we get out of here for Thanksgiving, let’s be thankful for know how to solve an algebraic equation for a variable, that is, becoming an Equation Master.  We will have a Blue Belt Advancement this Friday so make sure to finish up Part 3 of the Blue Belt Scroll (evens only).  Also, due on Friday is your November Stock Value Chart.  - just update by adding a sheet from last month’s stock value chart.

Become an equation master….practice, practice and practice…you should be to page 19 by tomorrow.  Also, check out my How 2’s on solving equations.

Good Luck and you’ll be Thankful you worked hard to complete and earn your Blue Belt before Thanksgiving!

Solving Equations with Fractions! Yikes!!


I hope you are enjoying the little break for Veteran’s Day.  Fractions strike fear in the heart of all….but, don’t worry!  I got you….Below are two videos I made to help you understand how to solve equations with fractions.  The first is a basic understanding that we covered in class and the second, is a faster, quicker way to solve by using an important principal of reciprocals.  Watch Both to help you….you can choose whatever method is easier for you.

1st Video:  Solving Equations with Fractions

2nd Video:  Solving Equtions with Fractions Part 2 Reciprocals

For HW tomorrow, the first set of problems for the Blue Belt Scroll is due and also, complete p. 7 (solving equations with fractions) from the second set of problems I gave you on Monday.

Remember, always perform the opposite operation of what is being done to the variable.

Good Luck and see you tomorrow,

Mr. Holmes

A New Way of Math Understanding….Articulating your Rationale

Hey Students,

SLC’s are over and hopefully, we have a new sights on goals for growth for the rest of the year.  Ms. Staff and I enjoyed them very much in terms of sitting down with you and your parents to discuss your strengths and plans for continued growth this year.  You listed some goals for Math/Science and I will be sending out a “Connect the Dots” assignment for you to keep going throughout the whole year.  Your first entry will be to list out your 1-3 goals you have for Math/Science.  Be specific and list out the action steps you will take for to reach these goals.

Today, we launched a new phase in our math program called the Problem of the Week (POW) designed to get you to Articulate your Thinking (your Rationale) on why and how you solved a particular math problem.


We had a dynamic, dialectical discussion on the Frogproblem.  Your HW tonight is to write up a specific and detailed solution to the frog problem.  Make sure to write in depth and be specific about your thinking.  The goal is for you to write enough so that any reader can make sense of your thinking…..it is sense making!  A good write up includes:

  • Detailed Analyses-  write more and be specific about your thinking
  • Use Evidence- use the evidence to support your claims as you write.
  • Use Math & Numbers- show it with mathematical support.
  • Use Visuals- to further explain what you are thinking
  • A good write up should be 2-3 paragraphs at least.

The MOST IMPORTANT thing is how you explain how to get to your solution.

So, tonight…complete the Connect The Dots document (see your email) and do your writeup for the Frog Problem.

Cheers and here is to a great start to the second half of this first semester!

Mr. Holmes

Bridging to New Ideas….x is for Thinking!


We are on the cusp of Bridging into new ideas and new ways of working together.  Today, I hope you are starting to see how the basic ideas of Algebra (a variable, and algebraic formulas) apply to our stock market project and Bridge Project.  Today, we went in depth to understand the difference when you add/subtract like terms and when you multiply them.   You wrote our expressions and simplifed them and then we saw how that applies to calculating your stock values:  Value = # of shares *  Share Unit Price.  Of course, it VARIES for each person and depends on the stock that you own and it’s shares.  But, you apply the same algebraic formula.  We’ll be developing this idea more as we move into the second half of the semester.

For now, Your HW tonight is to complete the ACTUAL Stock Value Chart see hereATUALstockValue   and if you have not passed your Orange Belt, study and get ready for tomorrow’s advancement.

I hope all of your parents received the SLC letter we sent home and received the sign up through your email.  If not?  Please email Mr. Holmes:  jholmes@hightechhigh.org

I hope that by tomorrow, all groups can purchase their land for the bridge project and the only way you can do that is by completing the Bridge Permit and 1st Architectural Draft.

Yep, New ideas to shape your thinking!

Great job everyone and keep working hard,

Mr. Holmes

Orange You Ready??


Orange You Ready??  Hopefully, you have Orange Belt Scroll on Exponents and you have the problems on Popular Formulas.  Practice on your exponents and know the rules that will help you shortcut simplfying exponential expressions.  If you need some helpful hints on exponents, check out this video from my How 2’s:  https://www.educreations.com/lesson/view/rules-of-exponents/2871688/?ref=link

So, for the Orange Belt Advancement this Thursday, it will cover the following topics:

  • Simplifying Algebraic Expressions- combining like terms
  • Evaluating Algebraic Expressions & Formulas- plugging in values for numbers
  • Squares & Square Roots- you need to be able to find these values in your calculator
  • Simplifying Exponents- Know the rules to simplify.

A few other reminders:

– Keep checking on your Stock Market and investments.

– Plan, Research, and design your Bridge ideas with your group.

– Read through the Bridge Project on my DP:  http://toothpickbridge.wordpress.com/

We need to start building next week when you return on Tuesday!

Study and practice 20-30 minutes a night on your math work!!

Mr. Holmes

Advancement Day and Prepping for Bridges

Hey Team,

Well?  What did you think? You took the advancement today and I hope you did well.  I will do my best to get them graded and back to you tomorrow….but I am just one man.  Today, we worked on our stock quotes and terms….you have joined our stock contest, right?  If not, go to the Stock Market Project on my DP and follow the directions the main page.  We are also learning how to access quote pages and terms as well.

Tonight for your HW training, I would like you to review the Bridging The Gap Project and especially, read about the Company Roles (the tab at top) and fill out this Job Employment Form

If for some reason, you haven’t finished all of “All Things Shall Be Distributed Equally”….please do so by tomorrow.

Great day today and keep brining it!!!  It’s all about Like Terms tomorrow!

Mr. Holmes