Mr. Ackerman's Blog

Entries Tagged as 'math'

Is “New” Math Fuzzy?

January 5th, 2015 · 1 Comment

This is a helpful column for parents about the way math is taught nowadays. In short, the “old ways” were not necessarily the “best ways.”

“Common Core math is getting the works from critics: It’s too demanding for most kids; holds back the speedy kids; not the same as what parents already know; makes kids cry. It even promotes “fuzzy math.”

As a professional mathematician, I’m as firmly against fuzzy math as they come. Common Core lays the foundation for students to have a better grasp of mathematical concepts than present standards and sets higher expectations for teaching and learning.”

Tags: math

Pi Day

May 12th, 2011 · No Comments

Who knew there was an official “Pi Day?”  Certainly not me.  But thankfully a student in Mrs Dorer’s class told us about it.  One thing led to another and they decided to celebrate the day.  Check out the video. Oh, and yes, this is our new school you tube page.  We will be adding more.

Tags: 21st Century Learning · math

A Guest Post From Ms. Willey

November 24th, 2010 · No Comments

Lane School Hikes the Blue Hills Reservation!

Beginning in October, Mrs. Post and I paired students from Ms. Edward’s fifth grade classroom with students from Mrs. Stadtlander’s third grade class.  Throughout their partnership, the grade five students mentored the younger students and taught them to use hand held GPS systems.  The GPS systems were purchased through a BEF grant in the spring of 2010.  The idea behind the project was to have students take an active role in the school-wide initiative to build community while incorporating technology.   These interactive electronic devices enhanced the students’ learning experiences.  The project added excitement and enthusiasm to the curriculum, while integrating classroom learning with Physical Education.  Students took part in weekly activities and assignments using the GPS systems which prepared them for a hiking trip to the Blue Hills in Canton Massachusetts.

On Friday, November 19th Mrs. Post and I took the students from Ms. Edward’s and Mrs. Stadtlander’s class on a hiking trip to Blue Hills Reservation.  During the trip students used the GPS systems to navigate the trail and find several way-points along their journey.  In addition they used flip cameras to capture exciting moments on their trips as well as enjoyed the weather observatory and petting zoo.  The trip enabled the students to challenge one another to use the community and technological skills that they have learned throughout the unit in a real life experience.  This was a great experience for all of the students that were involved and we look forward to making this a Lane School tradition!

gr 3 and 5 students collaborate with their GPS devices

students follow their coordinates, as Ms Edwards observes from a far

Tags: gym · math


September 3rd, 2010 · No Comments

Tags: education · math · recess · science · technology

Building Bridges

May 17th, 2010 · 1 Comment

Walking in the halls today, I came across the very exciting project that Mrs Dorer does with her grade 5 students on Mondays.  Her challenge to the students is to have them build a toothpick bridge that can withstand a certain amount of weight.  This got me thinking about how STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) learning is being heavily promoted as vital for our students to learn.  The toothpicks are a great example of what we can do at the elementary level.

today's toothpick bridges. . .

today's toothpick bridges. . .

. . . preparing students for tomorrow's challenges

. . . preparing students for tomorrow's challenges

Tags: 21st Century Learning · math · science

Math Olympiad

March 22nd, 2010 · 6 Comments

1 inch olympiad Mrs Dorer’s grade 4 and 5 math students take part in the annual Math Olympiad competition.  As usual our students did very well  this year.  Our grade 5 students AND our grade 4 students both did better than the national average for grade 5.  What a tremendous accomplishment for these students.  What are the math problems like?  Try this one.  . and remember, you only have 6 minutes to solve it.  Oh yeah, and remember, these are 9 and 10 year old kids solving these. . .

Time: 6 minutes
Bay Street has between 1 and 15 houses, numbered 1, 2, 3,
and so on. Mr. Sullivan lives in one of the houses. The sum
of all the house numbers less than his equals the sum of all
the house numbers greater than his. How many houses are
there on Bay Street?

Tags: math

A Town Meeting in Social Studies

February 3rd, 2010 · No Comments

Being true to her New England roots, Mrs Lerra had her gr 5 students acting out a town meeting. Mrs Lerra presented the students with a problem.  There was a parcel of land available in Bedford.  The debate was to see which group should be awarded the land: land developers, long time owners, or Park Dept.  This type of assignment focuses our students on many key skills, such as critical thinking, communication, and collaboration.  These skills were important in the past, and now are even more important as we look to the future.  Plus, the kids loved it!

Kids plan their debate

Kids plan their debate

Tags: 21st Century Learning · math · social studies

Scratch: Kids and Programming

November 4th, 2009 · No Comments

When I was in High School I didn’t like the computer class we had to take.  I remember trying to figure out how to make a computer turtle move on my screen.  How times have changed.  We have some fourth graders working with the MIT designed Scratch program, as described below.  Its pretty cool.  . .and educational!!!

From the developers. . .

That’s what we were hoping for when we set out to develop Scratch six years ago. We wanted to develop an approach to programming that would appeal to people who hadn’t previously imagined themselves as programmers. We wanted to make it easy for everyone, of all ages, backgrounds, and interests, to program their own interactive stories, games, animations, and simulations, and share their creations with one another.
Since the public launch in May 2007, the Scratch Web site ( has become a vibrant online community, with people sharing, discussing, and remixing one another’s projects. Scratch has been called “the YouTube of interactive media.” Each day, Scratchers from around the world upload more than 1,500 new projects to the site, with source code freely available for sharing and remixing. The site’s collection of projects is wildly diverse, including video games, interactive newsletters, science simulations, virtual tours, birthday cards, animated dance contests, and interactive tutorials, all programmed in Scratch.
The core audience on the site is between the ages of eight and 16 (peaking at 12), though a sizeable group of adults participates as well. As Scratchers program and share interactive projects, they learn important mathematical and computational concepts, as well as how to think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively: all essential skills for the 21st century. Indeed, our primary goal is not to prepare people for careers as professional programmers but to nurture a new generation of creative, systematic thinkers comfortable using programming to express their ideas.
via Scratch: Programming for All | November 2009 | Communications of the ACM.

Tags: 21st Century Learning · math · technology

Math Facts “Facts”

October 11th, 2009 · No Comments

Great slideshow put together by our math coordinator, Sarah Dorer.

Tags: math