This week the ninth graders are taking a mock national exam in the mornings. Consequently, I am missing out on seeing one class and instead of the other class getting a full week ahead, I've decided to teach them some basic calculus (why not, right?! :) lol) The idea initially came to me when we were working through an arduous problem that could've been quickly solved by taking the derivative. This got me thinking about ways that derivatives could be made accessible to ninth grade students, and today we started by graphing the line y = x (squared) zoomed in around the origin and then finding the slope of lines tangent to the curve. I'm not sure if the idea has fully taken root yet, but there were some ah-has and we have two more classes to work it out. I'm confident the students will start to recognize the pattern because we're only looking to scratch the surface; definitely not going to get to the chain rule or other complexities like that. I'm hoping this exercise will make higher mathematics seem more accessible and applicable.
Aside from that, of all the Super Bowl ads I perused on YouTube today (clearly I've been productive over here :)!), this was my favorite: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EBUcG7xZB-g&feature