Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Revolutionary new Zombie algorithm: the Cookie Monster inequality!!!

The best ideas come on the fly in teaching. You can't plan for it... or write an objective for it... or pre-test it... and it often negates a large portion of the lesson plan you did spend 2 hours preparing the night before. Thus was the invention of "Cookie the Inequality Monster".

My 7th graders have spent the last few weeks working on various forms of linear, exponential, simple and multi-step equations. Today we began a short interlude relating our prior knowledge to an introduction of graphing inequalities. In the midst of staring at the little open and closed dots, talking about Pac Man "eating towards the bigger meal", it dawned on me that the inequality "dot" looks an awful lot like an Oreo Cookie! Whoulda thunk it? 

I will post this blog to Cookie's Facebook page, that I just discovered, and see if I get any Cookie fans who agree with me (click the picture and log into FB to see what's crack-a-lackin' in Cookie Land). God Bless Facebook. 

While you're there, if you are a new follower, go ahead and visit my shamelessly plugged "Coordinate Graph Art for Grades 6-8" page! It has lost followers, I think, due to a lack of activity on my part. I can't help it. I've become immersed in listening to Pride & Prejudice & Zombies on my Audible.com acount, in which Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy trade not only witty words of sarcasm, but many a blow with deadly weapons. 

And since I'm on a tangent anyway, let me just SHOUT FOR JOY! The book is being made into a movie to be released in 2013. Although how exactly they are going to film Ms. Bennett walking around the hall at Lady Catherine de Bourg's castle on her fingertips for an entire evening, and then slaying 3 of her ladyship's favored ninjas, I am unsure... 

Alas, I digress. Back to Cookie Math. So... think about it... look at the solution, or dot, in the middle of these inequalities. Doesn't the open dot (x<2 or x>2) resemble the cream in the Oreo Cookie? And the (x<2 or x>2) look like the top cookie on those lovely cookie sammiches Cookie loves so much?  Of course he prefers chocolate chip, but that just doesn't go along with my math plan ;)

As previously discussed, the < or > sign is "Pac Man", and he wants to eat the bigger meal. So I made up a little algorithm, deciding that Pac Man does NOT like the cream in the oreo. Hence the OPEN CIRCLE. If pac man sees the open circle cookie cream, sans cookie, he will NOT eat it. The number is NOT included in the solution, and Pac Man will start his om-nom-noming after he has exited the cookie cream's circle of doom. 

Didn't you know? Pentagons are 5-sided. Hexagons are 6-sided. Octagons are 8-sided. And Pac Man is an Omnomnomagon. Seriously, I didn't make that up. That was all my students and google or a cheeseburger site. Not sure which. Although you can click the picture at left and buy yourself a fantastic hooded sweatshirt and impress all your friends.

Back to math.... so when the inequality circle is full, such as in the example above of x < 2 , the yummy chocolate cookies are present, not just the yucky cream that Pac Man hates... so he WILL eat the cookie sammich. And not only eat it, but enjoy it so fervently, that it will leave a cute little goatee mustache under his chin, creating the < sign. 


Make sense? Now, to the cookie jar I go! Good eating to you all!