The Retro Hockey League Math Problem

For one of my ECMP mentorships I put together another problem for them to solve.   I put it together for the sixth grade math class in Michigan (you can see their class wiki here).  The class is currently learning about decimals, fractions and percentages.  Mr. Kaechele said he has been trying to explain to the students how the concepts apply to sports.  In a Skype call with him, he told me that he tried to get his students to use the internet to find some sports stats.  He found that this didn’t work as he had planned, and figured it was a little too vague of an assignment.  We came up with the idea to put together a question relating to the sports stats and fractions, decimals and percentages.

I decided to make the problem relating to hockey, mostly because it is my favorite sport and it allows the students to learn something new about me.  I wasn’t able to make a fancy video like I did for my last problem, mostly because I didn’t have the time this week with papers and a midterm piling up.  For this problem, I simply put together a Google Document and posed some questions for the students.   The video is just a screen  recording of the doc (nothing fancy) and me talking about it briefly.

The Google Doc I used can be found here, and is accessible to the students so they don’t have to hear me repeating the questions over and over again (I feel sorry for anyone that would ever have to sit through that).

I wish I would have more time to make a nicer looking video. However, I think the problem will be effective for getting the students to use their new decimal, fractions and percentage skills. I tried to use Dan Meyer‘s recommendation of being less helpful from his comments on my last problem. I think I was less helpful than the last problem and hopefully I can get the students thinking on their own without me guiding them towards the problem. However, I do feel like this could be a problem you find in a text book.

I would love to hear some comments and criticisms on this problem.

Pink = Cancer Awareness?

When I was looking for some blogs to subscribe to a few days, I found a hockey related blog: On Frozen Blog.   On the blog, there was a post entitled “Should Hockey Players Wear Pink — Ever?“. You can read the original post here.   The post discusses that the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League will be wearing pink jerseys for this upcoming month for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  Also, there have been a few different incidents where the entire ice surface was painted pink to raise awareness for breast cancer.

Hershey Bears Pink Jerseys

Hershey Bear's Pink Jerseys

I’m quite fine with fundraising through professional sports for charities.  However I was quite disturbed when I read this quote from the blog:

“Everyone is going pink for October, but that doesn’t necessarily mean money is being raised for cancer research. After all, it’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month, not Research Month. That means that anyone can put a cute ribbon on their products or even produce specialty pink products without actually donating anything. While this isn’t against the law or anything, many shoppers are being fooled into thinking that their purchase makes a difference.”

Pink Ice (Image from Flickr)

Pink Ice (Image from Flickr)

This quote originally came from an article entitled “When Breast Cancer Pink is a Scam“.  This particular article states that many companies are exploiting the pink ribbon for marketing purposes.  Am I the only one sickened by this?  The fact that businesses are using fake cancer awareness to turn a larger profit.  They know people are more likely to buy products where some of the proceeds go towards a good cause.  I can’t believe that companies are trying to fool people into buying their products knowing this.

I know that hockey teams or organizations that run charity nights aren’t trying to pull a fast one on us.  However much they say will be donated to these charities will likely be donated.  However, some of it will probably get lost somewhere along the way.  I think if you’re wanting to contribute to these charities, you should make a donation directly to them.

Also, on a side note, it was just announced that Team Canada will be wearing green jerseys at the World Juniors in Saskatchewan. Scott Smith, chief operating officer of Hockey Canada, said “Green is the colour … hockey is the game.”  Smart move on Hockey Canada’s part.  The green and white Riders make more money in merchandise than the rest of the CFL combined.  And, I heard this from a friend, so correct me if I’m wrong, but third most in all sports in Canada, just behind the Canadiens and Leafs.  I like it, but I bet all of Canada outside of Saskatchewan will hate it.

The SHA Has it Right!

Saskatchewan Hockey Association

Saskatchewan Hockey Association

]This past weekend I took my hockey refereeing certification course. I haven’t been a referee since my younger days, but as a student I couldn’t think of a better part time job. I get to work when I want to, I get to participate in something I love, and the money is pretty good.

I know what you’re thinking: Kyle, what does this have to do with your blog relating to education, specifically technology? Everything, believe it or not. When I used to go to these officiating clinics back when I was in grade 7 or 8 it was a full day event. You would show up at nine in the morning and stay until somewhere around 4 or 5; a full day. Much to my surprise, things have changed significantly in the past few years. Before showing up to the clinic I was required to do online modules. The last thing I wanted to do was do online modules on top of the full day I thought I going to have to use to do the clinic.

So what did these modules include? They had slides on all the different topics: rules, penalties, procedures, expectations, and safety. Some topics even had excellent images and videos to complement the slides. This would come in very handy for someone who doesn’t quite understand what an offside or an icing is for example. After each set of slides or movies there was usually a quiz that you had to pass in order to move on. Someone who knows nothing about hockey or officiating the sport could quickly start to grasp the game and its confusing rules. And the best part was that the clinic was reduced to only four hours!

Screenshot of the Modules (click to enlarge)

Screenshot of the Modules (click to enlarge)

Whoever thought of doing this course this way is a genius! Not only did it save me half of a day of sitting in an uncomfortable desk, but I didn’t have to go anywhere. It could have only made sense for the Saskatchewan Hockey Association as well: They would have only had to pay their instructors half the hours and rent the classrooms for half of the time. It was really a win-win for both of us.

This clinic really got me wondering. Why don’t teachers take advantage of effective learning tools like online modules? Perhaps some do, but I sure never encountered one as a student. Why not have quick little modules or videos for our students to do as homework? Maybe even just some quick review tutorials on how to do some tasks. How handy would a quick video on how to do long division be for a student who is at home struggling with their long division homework? It would be an invaluable resource to students! I know there are some sites with videos like these kicking around, but what if your teacher is teaching you a different way than the video you stumbled across does? Having that reinforcement and help from a teacher while he/she isn’t their could be just as good as them being their helping with homework.

I think that the SHA has increased effectiveness with their clinics through this method. Why shouldn’t we be trying to increase our effectiveness in our every day lessons? With all the tools at our fingertips, it’s well within our reach.

On a sidenote, if anyone is interested in learning more about the rules of hockey, I believe anyone can take the modules here.