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eMath December 2018 Newsletter

Ah, its the last week of classes here in New York before the big break. Kids and teachers here are restive, but happy that one of the longer break is on the horizon. Just last minute tests, office parties, and school concerts to get through. Maybe our hypercube logo in a Santa hat is just what you need:

Or maybe you also just need that vacation. I know I do.

We’ve got the typical add-ons to discuss but first I wanted to update all of you on the latest timeline for New York State switching to the Next Generation Math Standards. If you are not teaching in New York, you may want to skip to the add-ons. However, if you have been confused about when the Next Generation standards are going to be implemented, read on.

As most teachers in New York know, these standards are very close to the Common Core Standards. But, like many states, the political backlash against those standards, earned or not, has made them untenable, at least in name. The timeline for adoption of these standards, of course, is dictated on when they will be assessed. That timeline has been fairly transparent for quite some time at the K-8 level. Here’s the graphic and link from the website:

The most important part of this graphic is the final piece (with my horrible highlighting):

At eMath we have been working under the assumption that the changes due to the Next Generation Standards in Algebra I, Geometry, and Algebra II would all go into effect in the Fall of 2020 and then assessed for the first time in June 2021. NYSED hasn’t updated that graphic on their website for quite some time (at least 6 months) and to my knowledge has not made any solid decision. But, NYSED is speaking to math teachers, especially in the form of responding to question from the Association of Math Teachers of New York State (AMTNYS). Here is the relevant question (from AMTNYS) and the reply (from NYSED):

I love the fact that “new” is in quotes. Here is the full document:

2018 AMTNYS Math Questions

So, it looks like at the very earliest the changes at the high school level will be assessed in June of 2022 (which seems like a century away to me). And it seems like that will only be for Algebra I. So, those of you holding your breath for 3 by 3 systems to be taken off the New York State Algebra II Regents exam could be waiting until the 2023-2024 school year. Let that sink in for a minute (or more).That’s five years and countless numbers of Regents exams between now and then.

The upshot of all of this for users of eMathInstruction courses is that we will not introduce these changes to our texts until at least the Fall of 2021. This, of course, is subject to change should NYSED decide to implement changes to the assessments earlier, but that would be disastrous for them.

O.k. Onto the add-ons for the month.

In Common Core Algebra I Add-Ons, we bring you two Form C assessments, one for Unit 5 (Systems of Linear Equations and Inequalities) and one for Unit 6 (Exponents, Exponents, Exponents). We will continue to put our these additional assessments year in and year out since we get a lot of positive feedback on them. Of course, it never hurts to have makeups and alternate exams.

In Common Core Geometry Add-Ons this month we have two sets of practice problems. First, we have a Unit 5 Coordinate Geometry Formula practice sheet. This is a short set of problems that give students a chance to practice what they’ve learned about the three fundamental coordinate geometry formulas (slope, midpoint, and distance). This is a good extra assignment for the average student. For Unit 6 we bring you a nice set of quadrilateral practice problems. These aren’t proofs, just algebraic and numerical problems that ask kids to use facts about the various quadrilaterals they’ve been studying.

For Common Core Algebra II Add-Ons we again bring you two Form C Assessments. We bring you the third version of the Unit Assessment for Unit 5 (Sequences and Series) and the third for Unit 6 (Quadratic Functions and Their Algebra).

Finally, for Algebra 2 with Trigonometry Add-Ons we have an assessment and a practice set of problems. We bring you the Form B Assessment for Unit 6 (Polynomials and Rational Functions). We also have another resource for Unit 7 (The Circular Functions). We created a set of fairly basic trigonometric graphs (no horizontal shifts) and ask the students to create their equations based on either the sine or cosine functions. This is a nice sheet to give kids to practice immediately after they have learned all of the basic sinusoidal graph parameters.

So, in other eMathInstruction news, we will be paying a visit to Edward R. Murrow high school in Brooklyn, New York this spring for our annual school visit. I’m excited to meet the students and teachers at Edward R. Murrow and amaze and awe them with some math that’s more fun than serious. Next month we will have some exciting news regarding new courses coming to eMath just in time for those Next Gen Standards I was talking about before. So, I’ll leave you with this teaser of an image:

Have a great holiday season! Enjoy the break, the rest, your family, and your friends. 2019 here we come!


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eMath August 2018 Newsletter

Wow! Is it already August 15th? For those of us living in New York, that generally means we have just over two weeks of summer break left before school begins. How time flies.

Speaking of the waning summer, if your school is still looking to purchase workbooks for this coming school year, make sure to do so as soon as possible. We’ve still got quite a bit of them in stock now, but by next week, the delivery times will start to push past Labor Day weekend. For New York City teachers, we now have all of our workbooks, including Common Core Algebra I in Spanish, on ShopDOE and the FAMIS ordering systems. Find all of the important information using the document below:

eMath Instruction ShopDOE and FAMIS List 2018

Now that the school year is almost upon us, we have new additions to each course. As always, please feel free to send us suggestions about what you would like to see as monthly add-ons to various courses. Always best to catch us with your suggestions at least a month ahead of time. Assessments are always in demand and we have a bunch for you this month.

In our Common Core Algebra I Add-Ons, we bring you a Unit 3 (Functions) Quiz. This quiz goes through Lesson 3 of the unit and we provide you with both a Form A and a Form B version of the quiz. This is the first year of our Common Core Geometry Add-Ons. For the Geometry Add-Ons this year we want to make sure you all have a Form B test for each unit. So, for this month we give you a Unit 1 and Unit 2 Form B assessment. These mirror assessments can be used as makeup for the typical exams or just as replacements.

For our Common Core Algebra II Add-Ons, this month we bring you a Unit 2 Quiz (Also Functions). This quiz should be given after Lesson 3. We provide both a Form A and Form B version of this quiz. In Algebra 2 and Trigonometry Add-Ons, we provide a Unit 1 and Unit 2 Form B quiz. In Alg2/Trig, the first two units are very short, so we did not write full unit assessments for them. Here we provide a Form B for the “quizzes” for each of these units.

This year we are going to have our eye on the changes coming due to the Next Generation Standards in New York State. For those outside of the state (or those out of the loop), New York decided, like many states, to massage the Common Core Standards and given them a less politically charged name (they’ve even taken it off of the NY standardized tests). These standards do not go into effect at the K-8 level until the 2020-2021 school year. They will first be tested at the 3-8 levels in the spring of 2021. Here is a graphic of the timeline:

Here’s a link to that page:

Next Generation Math Standards Implementation Timeline

Now, I get a lot of questions about when we will be incorporating the Next Gen changes into our Alg I/Geo/Alg II series of curricula/books. Well, New York State has been vague, at best, about when the changes will be implemented at the high school level. BUT, if you look at the fine print of the Timeline graphic above, you see:

Two things to note here: (1) NYSED has not yet decided on when these standards will be implemented, so we must assume the status quo in terms of the assessment content and (2) the implementation of the Next Gen standards on tests will not happen before June of 2021.

We plan to really start modifying our high school texts later this academic year and will continue to create lessons that fit these standards as add-ons. We do not plan on actually changing the workbooks until the 2020-2021 academic year. We also hope to release something for kids younger than 9th graders for the Next Gen standards as well. More on that later this year.

That’s it for now. Continue to enjoy the rest of summer. Get out to your local fairs, waterparks, and festivals. As for me, I’m looking forward to taking a long weekend to camp with the kids.

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eMath May 2018 Newsletter

Well, Spring has definitely sprung here in the great Northeast. As I sit here massive thundershowers are hitting us. We even have a tornado warning! I grew up in Illinois, where the flat terrain essentially guaranteed that tornadoes were commonplace. But, surrounded by mountains (or large hills as some would insist) here in Red Hook, we don’t tend to see twisters here.

But, enough about the weather (actually I’m going to come back to it eventually). We are heading into the homestretch of the school year. With roughly a month to go before standardized testing sets in, teachers should be heading into full on review mode. To that end, let’s discuss the add-ons for Common Core Algebra I, Common Core Algebra II, and Algebra 2 with Trigonometry. Last year for each of these courses we put out short (10 points each) Unit Review quizzes for each unit. For both CC Algebra II and Alg 2 with Trig we put multiple quizzes out for the longer units as well. We released these quizzes between the April and May add-on rounds from last year.

This year we are releasing the Form B (or makeup) quizzes for all three courses. We organized the quizzes from last year and rereleased them as Form A. We then also released Form B as new content. For each course, both documents, Form A and Form B, contain quizzes for all units. These quizzes will help spot check the students as you conduct unit review. Since Teachers have access to the Word document as well, you have the flexibility to combine quizzes as you like and need to.

We will start up with more add-ons in August! Including add-ons for Geometry.

In other exciting news, eMathInstruction will host Live reviews for the New York State High School Regents exams!!!

Last year we live streamed reviews for CC Algebra I, CC Algebra II, and CC Geometry (in that order). We did this using only Instagram Live, since that was where we thought we could reach the most students. By the time we did our last review, CC Geo, we had over 20k viewers. Granted, some of them probably weren’t students at all and left as soon as they realized it was a big, old geek (me) talking about math, but still! Over 20 thousand unique viewers. Even if 5,000 were students, that would be great.

This year we hope to live stream it on Instagram Live, Facebook Live, and YouTube Live. We still have to work out the details on that. But, the dates and times have been set:

Algebra I Review: Monday, June 11th, 6 until 9 p.m.

Algebra II Review: Wednesday, June 13th, 6 until 9 p.m.

Geometry Review: Monday, June 18th, 6 until 9 p.m.

Kids will be able to tune in via Instagram Live (at least) and have a chance to comment (briefly) at certain times during the video. They will need to follow:



Last year we streamed to my own personal account (@kirkweiler if you want to see me post pictures of my garden), but this year we are only Instagram Live Feeding to @emathinstruction. Have your students follow that to watch. Once we know how to watch on YouTube Live and Facebook Live we will let people know via Facebook.

Finally, back to the weather! In my experience, many math teachers are weather junkies. We like both the predictable, science side of it as well as its probabilistic nature. A neat website to help you visualize the weather patterns, especially air velocity, is a site called

It’s a super cool site where those little streaks you see in the image actually move on the screen relative to the velocity of the wind currents. It is especially impressive when you are looking at a hurricane. Here’s a hurricane like pattern off the coast of Japan (thankfully not an actual hurricane/typhoon).

So, check it out if you have the time. It is a CPU drain, so just keep that in mind and close whatever browser window you use to look at it, either on your computer or phone, once you’re done.

That’s it for me for now. We’ll get back to you all with way more news about the Live events as we get closer. Make sure to announce them to your students so they can have a night before (literally) review. You never know who it might push past the passing line.




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eMath April 2018 Newsletter

Well, it’s April 16th, so the weather in New York is now turning sunny and spring is in full tilt with the flowers blooming, the birds singing and …

Actually, I’m just kidding. I woke up to snow this morning. Still, not all is dreary. We are quickly approaching the final stretch of the academic year (you are likely just starting the fourth quarter). We have been busy at eMathInstruction working on a variety of different resources, updating our website, and creating add-ons for the courses. Let’s get right into those.

For Common Core Algebra I Add-Ons this month we have added a quiz and a new lesson. For Unit 10 (Statistics) we have added a Form B mid-unit quiz. Last year we added the original quiz and this year we have a makeup or Form B of the quiz. These are always handy when it comes to students who are absent or even if you want to give Period 1 the Form A and Period 2 the Form B. We always try to make them as similar as possible, while still making the questions unique. For Unit 11 (the final unit) we added Lesson 6.5 on Additional Piecewise Functions work. In this lesson we have piecewise functions that include linear, quadratic, and root functions. I still believe that the idea of piecewise functions is challenging enough so that it should be as basic as possible, i.e. just piecewise linear, but clearly the makers of standardized tests disagree with me as they often will include pieces that are non-linear.

For Common Core Algebra II Add-Ons we bring you two activities centered on the probability and statistics units (Units 12 and 13). For Unit 12 (Probability) we have created a Die Rolling Probability activity. We have the students use the random number simulator on the calculators to simulate rolling two die and summing their rolls. We then have them investigate the empirical versus theoretical probabilities associated with this experiment as well as answer a variety of conditional probability questions. There is no associated homework with this activity. In Unit 13 (Statistics) we created Lesson 4.5 on Sampling a Population. We created a data set of 200 values that students then randomly sample from. Students calculate sample means and standard deviations from their samples and then compare these to the population statistics. Like the Die Rolling Activity, this lesson has no homework associated with it.

In our Algebra 2 with Trigonometry Add-Ons this month we have a quiz and another lesson. For Unit 10 (Exponential and Logarithmic Functions) we offer up a mid-unit quiz that covers all of the content through Lesson #6 (Graphing Basic Logarithms). In Unit 11 (Probability) we created Lesson 7.5 on More Binomial Probability Practice. In this lesson we use the calculator to find binomial probabilities and cumulative binomial probabilities for a variety of applied problems.

In other exciting news, eMathInstruction will be at the national NCTM conference next week!!!

We will have a booth set up where you can come and chat and we will also be presenting on Friday afternoon. Drop by and say hi if you are at the conference.

In Geometry news, Version 2.0 of our workbook is now for sale. This new book has the Unit Reviews now included at the end of each unit, so its quite a bit longer than the original book. We’ll begin to add-on to this course starting in August. As always, if you have suggestions in terms of what you’d like us to add, please reach out (make up tests, mid-unit quizzes, extra problem sets, extra lessons).

We’ve been doing some major behind the scenes work on our website recently. We added a second server which does two things for us. First, if the primary server were ever to “crash” then the second server would keep the site up and running. But, even better, the second server allows us to “load balance” the traffic to the site. Hopefully this means shorter page and download times. Now, with all major website work, there are always hiccups in the system. Most of you probably have not had any trouble, but some of you, when trying to go to our main site, have experienced errors such as a “failure to redirect” or “” sent an invalid response or even scary messages like “corrupted content error.” I’ll be honest, I don’t really understand what’s happening. But, apparently a one-time fix of clearing the computer’s cache gets the job done. How to clear cache is very browser dependent (Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Internet Explorer, Safari …). The University of Wisconsin (go Badgers) has an awesome site with links to every major browser and operating system:

How to Clear Web Browser Cache (University of Wisconsin)

You know cache is the issue if you can get to our site through one browser but not through another one.

Have a great rest of your April. I hope that spring has arrive for you soon, if it hasn’t already shown up (no sign yet here).



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eMath March 2018 Newsletter

Good morning everyone. I’m writing today from my house in Red Hook, New York, just a hundred miles or so north of New York City. We’ve had three nor’easters in the last week with another possible one next week. You might call this serious winter. We just call it March. And since it is mid-March, it’s time to put out the eMath March Newsletter. We’ve got plenty to report and add-ons to discuss, so let’s get to it.

This month for our Algebra I Add-Ons we bring you a new lesson in statistics. Unit 10.Lesson 4.5 is on the subject of outliers, how to identify them and what the effect of removing them is on the statistics for a data set. We stick to the standard definition of an outlier being any data value  ± 1.5IQR below or above the first or third quartiles, respectively. On the New York State Regents Exam in Algebra I, we’ve repeatedly seen multiple choice exam questions that require knowing this definition, for example #16 on the January 2018 exam:

To rule out (2) as the correct choice, think about how much work must be done. They must calculate Q1 and Q3, 41 and 68, then the IQR (27), and then 1.5*IQR (40.5). Subtracted and added to Q1 and Q3 gives you a “non-outlier” range of 0.5 to 108.5. Notice how this makes the 120 clearly an outlier but the data point of 0 is barely an outlier. So, it’s pretty important to know this technical definition of an outlier (which is not universally accepted) in order to not choose (2). Given the rather subjective nature of the correct answer, i.e. (1) that the mode is the “best” measure of central tendency, it is important to know why each of the other statements is true. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think it is unreasonable for kids to know this, but I think that this is the type of curricular detail that needs to be explicitly spelled out as a piece of knowledge kids must learn.

We created two new videos for Common Core Algebra I. One of them goes with our add-on lesson Unit 8.Lesson 7.5.Linear-Quadratic systems. We also did a short video on a graphical reason for why the method of completing the square works. Both of these videos will be posted soon with a QR code added to the lesson when finished (likely today or Monday).

For Common Core Geometry, we have finally finished our Unit Reviews and Unit Assessments with Unit 10 – Measurement and Modeling. We have a fantastic Review with lots and lots of modeling problems, including additional density problems. These Reviews and Assessments finish Version 1 of our Common Core Geometry curriculum. We will begin releasing add-ons (additional lessons, activities, and assessments) beginning in August of 2018.

For our Common Core Algebra II Add-Ons, we’ve created a lesson, a mid-unit quiz (form B), and a video. Let’s start off with Unit 11.Lesson 8.5.More Work Graphing Sine and Cosine. This is a huge set of problems that give kids basic work graphing the sine and cosine function including amplitude, midline, and frequency (no horizontal shifting). We also give them a variety of curves and have them come up with the equations. This is an excellent problem set to give to kids over spring break (coming soon hopefully to a school near you). We also created a Form B of our Unit 11 (Trig) mid-unit quiz. We reposted the Form A quiz and you now have two similar quizzes to test their knowledge half-way through the Trigonometry (Circular functions) unit. Finally, we created a video to go with our Unit 10 lesson on the Sum and Difference of Perfect Cubes. I must say I’m disappointed that this topic got approved for the Next Generation Learning Standards at the Algebra II level:

I find almost no utility in having kids memorize:

x^3+y^3=(x+y)(x^2-xy+y^2) and x^3-y^3=(x-y)(x^2+xy+y^2)

I do think they are interesting patterns to study. I think the connections that can be made between these problems and the imaginary roots of quadratics are quite interesting. But, I see no utility in any type of realistic math problems where memorization of these patterns is helpful. I think it just takes up time and mental space that could be spent better elsewhere. What are your thoughts?

Finally, we have our Algebra 2 and Trigonometry add-on of the month. This month we’ve added an additional lesson in Unit 10 (Exponential and Logarithmic Functions). We’ve put in Lesson 4.5 on Additional Exponential Modeling. In this lesson we look at how to transition between different time units when modeling something using exponential growth and decay. This is a particularly nice lesson from an applied perspective.

That’s it for add-ons, but I’d like to keep discussing a bit more. Let’s begin with a cool 3D visualizing program for Geometry teachers that many of you likely have if you bought a PC within the last 3 years. All Windows 10 computers (and I believe some Windows 8) come with a program called 3D Builder:

Just type its name into your Search bar on a PC to see if you have it. Now, this program wasn’t installed because Microsoft thinks we are all Geometry teachers. Nope! This is a program designed to allow you to create 3D printer files. But, that doesn’t mean it isn’t great for 3D modeling. For example, remember the water-tower problem on the first CC Geometry Regents exam:

Now, imagine making the problem come alive by showing the students not just a model of it on 3D Builder but also that model taken apart into the three component pieces:

One of my favorite parts of this program is its Split command under the Edit Menu:

This function’s purpose is to slice a 3D object using a plane so that you only keep part of it to print. BUT, Geometry teachers can use it to show kids cross-sections of any orientation. With our cone example, here is an example of it showing a horizontal cross-section:

Notice those rotation arrows? They allow you to rotate the slicing plane into any orientation. So, if you wanted to see a classic vertical cross-section you could just rotate the plane 90 degrees to get:

Or, my favorite, the elliptical cross-section formed when slicing with an inclined plane:

Once you’ve rotated the plane, you can then move it left, right, up and down, allowing you to show kids how cross sections can change as you move the slicing plane in various directions. The Next Gen standards for Geometry state that kids will need to be able to visualize cross-sections of common solids, even with planes that are not horizontal or vertical:

Will they have to recognize that certain cross-sections of cubes are hexagons? Inquiring minds want to know.

Well, I think that’s about it for 3D Builder. I’ll be discussing this program and Tinkercad, one of my favorite online 3D modeling programs in additional posts. Only a few years ago, visualizing 3D geometric concepts would have been very difficult. Now, programs to do so are not just easy to find, but completely free.

We have some exciting changes coming to the website in the coming months, including a new way of organizing the Add-Ons and the Assessment Items. But, more on that in the April newsletter. For now, happy Pi-Day, happy March, and enjoy your spring break if you still haven’t been on it yet.

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eMath January 2018 Newsletter

Hello all! We are just about at the mid-point of the academic year, which means it is very, very cold in upstate New York. We are working hard at eMath this January to bring you new materials and to continue to update older ones. Let’s get right into the add-ons for this month.

For Common Core Algebra I Add-Ons this month we bring you a new lesson and an additional problem set, both from Unit #8 on Quadratic Functions and Their Algebra. First, we have added a lesson on solving Linear-Quadratic Systems Algebraically and Graphically. This is a topic that some already do in Algebra I and others will do once the New York State Next Generation Standards kick in a few years from now. We thought we’d get a jump on those and add this lesson now. We’ve also added a problem sheet with extra Quadratic Word problems (technically Lesson 9 in this unit). I think you can never go wrong with more quadratic word problems as kids need as much practice with these as possible.

In Common Core Geometry, we continue with the Unit Reviews and Unit Assessments. This month it is Unit #8 on Right Triangle Trigonometry. We’ve put together a great packet of Review problems and a good assessment that should help you assess your students’ knowledge of this important subject. It looks like at this pace we will be publishing the last Unit Review and Assessment in March (Unit #10 on Measurement and Modeling). That will round out Common Core Geometry for this academic year.

For Common Core Algebra II Add-Ons we have two new lessons in Unit #9 on Complex Numbers. We’ve always felt that this unit was a bit brief so we added lessons that we think would be great for enriching the unit. The first lesson (#2.5) is on the Division of Complex numbers. This is a challenging topic both conceptually and mechanically. The second lesson (#5) is on the Complex Plane. Graphing complex numbers and finding their modulus (absolute value) are emphasized in this lesson.

Finally, for Algebra 2 with Trigonometry we bring you a nice add-on for Unit #8 (Trigonometric Algebra). We created a nice review set of Trig Equations that emphasize all of the equation solving techniques in this unit, including basic equations, quadratic trig equations, equations involving trig identities, and equations that need to be solved graphically. This is a great problem set to use as additional review at the end of this unit.

That’s it for now. Here at eMathInstruction we’d like to wish everyone a happy and thoughtful Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day. As we go through some rough times in our country and we question our basic identity on a daily basis, we hope that this day above all others makes us reflect on the commonalities that bring us together rather than the differences that seem to be tearing us apart.




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eMath October 2017 Newsletter

Happy October to all!!! The weather in upstate New York is starting to get colder and the trees are finally changing color. As the holiday season approaches (my son considers Halloween to be the first legitimate holiday), we have been busy working on a variety of different things at eMathInstruction.

Without further ado, let’s get right into the add-ons for this month. Our Common Core Algebra I Add-Ons consist of a performance task and a mid-unit quiz. We’ve created a Unit #4 Performance Task on Linear Modeling. This isn’t a lengthy assessment but it will give teachers a good sense for how well students understand linear modeling and how they react in a situation that is somewhat non-routine. We’ve included a sample rubric for the teacher, but teachers may want to create their own. We’ve also created a mid-unit quiz for Unit #5 – Systems of Linear Equations. This quiz (with two forms of it) covers through Lesson #4 (up to and including the Elimination Method).

The Common Core Geometry add-ons for this month can be found under the Unit Reviews and Unit Assessments. This month we published both the Unit #4 (Constructions) and Unit #5 (Coordinate Geometry) Reviews and Assessments. The Construction Unit Review is long and contains all of the classic constructions (up to this point) as well as applications of these constructions (such as reflecting a point across a line). The assessment for this unit is understandably a bit different. We plan to publish one or two unit reviews and assessments per month until all have been completed. We plan to have them all finished by the March add-on round at the latest.

We did something a bit different for Common Core Algebra II Add-Ons this month. We went back and recorded videos for two Unit #4 add-ons lessons we had already created, specifically Lesson 7.5 on Exponential Modeling Revisited and Lesson 15 on Asymptotes of Exponential and Logarithmic functions. We’ve modified the worksheets so that they now contain the QR Codes for the videos. Did you know that the newest OS on the iPhone has an automatic QR reader built into the Camera app? It’s true. All a student, with the latest OS on an iPhone, has to do is point their camera at a QR code as if they were taking a picture of it and the link will open to our video. As well, we also created a lesson on factoring trinomials using the “AC” method, i.e. the product and sum considerations of a trinomial. We are considering recording a video for that an another Algebra II lesson for next month’s add-ons.

Finally, for Algebra 2 and Trigonometry Add-Ons this month we created two forms of a Unit #4 quiz. This unit is on Radicals and the Quadratic Formula. The two forms of the quiz cover all topics through work with the quadratic formula (through Lesson #7).

In other eMathInstruction news, we ran a contest this month to gauge the interest level in having me come and teach for a day at a school. Over 100 schools gave us feedback on Facebook. We had a drawing about a week ago and Ward Melville High School in the Three Village District on Long Island won the drawing. So, I’ll be headed there in mid-December to teach some classes and talk with students. I’m really looking forward to the visit! We are hoping to do another one of these drawings in the spring. Maybe I’ll be coming to your district to do some Regents Review. Who knows?

We have just begun very preliminary work on our Common Core Algebra I App (or eBook). We are working on all sorts of functionality for our new electronic only textbook. Included will be a button to allow problems to be read to the student (or sub parts of problems), the ability to play a video showing the solution to a lesson problem (instead of having to watch the whole video), and the ability for teachers to be able to turn the answer key on and off for given lessons, avoiding the need to separately purchase the answer key subscription. We hope to have an initial prototype of the book done by the end of the academic year and to have it fully functioning by the time the Next Generation Math Standards go into effect in New York State (2020-2021?).

That’s it for now. I hope that the school year is progressing well for everyone, students and teacher alike. New school years always bring surprises, both positive and negative. As always, if you have any questions, concerns, or other feedback don’t hesitate to contact me at





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eMath September 2017 Newsletter

A new school year has started in the great Northeast. The light is getting dimmer while the trees are getting prettier. We’ve been all sorts of busy this past month at eMathInstruction working on making our site easier to use and coming up with add-ons to the courses. Let’s get right into those.

Let’s begin with the Common Core Algebra I Add-Ons. This month we’ve added two new lessons. One fits into Unit #3 between Lesson 6 and 7 (so I’ve given it Lesson 6.5). The lesson title is Motion and Average Rate of Change. We’ve seen quite a few motion problems on the Common Core Algebra I Regents Exam, so I thought it was time we devoted a lesson just to them. We also added Unit 4 – Lesson 9.5 on Solving Absolute Value Equations. We emphasized simple algebraic equations and more complicated graphical ones. Interestingly enough, there is no mention of solving any absolute value equations algebraically in the Common Core Standards, only graphically. Which is why you’ve only seen them that way on the Regents exams. Here’s a good example from June of 2016.

Moving right along to Common Core Geometry, recall that our add-ons to the Common Core Geometry curriculum this year will be the Unit Reviews and Unit Assessments. This month we’ve added on every student’s favorite, Unit #3 – Triangle Congruence Proof. We’ve given you a long set of additional problems and a nice assessment. We’ve also published the standards alignment documents in our Table of Contents section. If you’ve been itching to do some standards mapping to our Geometry curriculum, check out that link.

For our Common Core Algebra II Add-Ons this month we bring you an additional assessment and lesson. We created a Unit 3 Formative Assessment make up exam. This rounds out the Form B exams for Common Core Algebra II. Now each unit has both an assessment and a mirror make up assessment. We may consider adding additional make up assessments if teachers think it’s a good idea. We also added a lesson to Unit 4. Lesson 7.5 is titled Exponential Modeling Revisited and looks at moving between time units in exponential modeling. For example, if a growth model is given in hours, what would its equivalent look like if modeled in days instead. We’ve seen numerous questions on the New York State CC Alg II Regents exam on these types of questions.

Finally there is the old-faithful Algebra 2 with Trigonometry Add-On for this month. After a great deal of resistance on the part of yours truly, I’ve finally created a lesson on factoring trinomials with a method other than guess and check. I created Unit 3 – Lesson 6.6 – Factoring Trinomials Using the AC Method. Teachers who are familiar with this method of factoring already probably have a sense for how this lesson will work. I still believe guessing and checking is important for students, but this method does work and does produce reliable results, at least it does if a student can find the two integers that satisfy the product and sum conditions.

A final note on add-ons in general. I’ve been struggling with how to arrange them and have decided to keep placing resources into the add-ons so that they are in Unit order. That means add-ons from last year mix with ones from this year. For teachers who want to only see new add-ons, this isn’t the greatest way of organizing them. Still, for the teacher who just wants to see what resources are there for a particular unit, this is a very effective way to  have them arranged. As always, if you have any thoughts either way, feel free to reach out to me.

In other New York Math News, it looks like the Board of Regents finally voted on and adopted the New York State Next Generation Mathematics Learning Standards (or NYSNGMLS). Click on that link to open the full 170 page pdf document on the standards. They were just adopted so there are many news articles on them. Here’s a good one out of Albany itself:

Goodbye Common Core: New York’s New English, Math Standards Are Here – Albany Times Union

One of the most important parts of this piece is the following excerpt:

I’ve been waiting on some official word of the timeline before we started to modify our own text. Looks like I have a few years to make that happen. We may, when the time comes (2020), publish a New York edition to our Common Core texts. I’m hopeful by that time we’ve moved to an electronic only textbook. Thanks to Brian Battistoni, my good friend and colleague from Arlington High School, for the heads-up that the Next Gen standards had been officially adopted.

Well, I think that’s it for now. I’m hopeful that everyone has had a good start to their school year. As always, if you are having any troubles with your subscriptions or any suggestions on the curriculum, don’t hesitate to email me at: I’m busy, but never too busy to help.


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eMath May Newsletter

Well, it’s finally mid-May, which means that nice weather has returned to upstate New York. It also means that we are hitting the homestretch of the school year, with some schools finishing up quite soon. New York schools don’t finish until the third or fourth week of June, but final exams (Regents Exams) in math come in mid-June.

We have lots of exciting news and one last round of add-ons for this school year. First, we’ll start with the news which is mostly about Common Core Geometry. We are now done with the workbook and are printing up a bunch for summer orders. The answer key is being uploaded as I write this newsletter. It will definitely be available by Memorial Day weekend if not by the end of this week. We continue to record the videos and upload them as they are edited. We hope to have all of Unit 2 uploaded this week. That’s the particularly challenging unit on Transformations and Rigid Motions.

Another exciting set of events we have coming up are our Instagram Live Review sessions for the New York State High School Regents Exams. We will hold one review session for each of Common Core Algebra I, Common Core Geometry, and Common Core Algebra II. We are still settling on final times, but right now here is our proposed schedule:

Common Core Algebra I – Sunday, June 11th  from 3 to 5 p.m.

Common Core Algebra II – Wednesday, June 14th from 6 to 8 p.m.

Common Core Geometry – Thursday, June 15th from 6 to 8 p.m.

We will simply be taking questions from students who are watching the Live Session. We will have all of the previous Regents exams open and can work out questions on any of those or anything else the students throw our way. For those of you not familiar with Instagram, students will have to follow me (@kirkweiler). As well, they will only be able to watch via their phones as Instagram is not a computer or tablet based app (how weird is that?). There may be work arounds for this limitation. We went with Instagram instead of Facebook because we found that most teenagers have Instagram accounts, but not Facebook accounts.

Please do let us know if you have thoughts about the timing of the sessions. We tried to pick what we thought made the most sense after speaking with both students and teachers about it.

Our final round of add-ons for this school year are all about review materials. For each course, we added review quizzes for each unit. These are short, “keep them honest” quizzes that hit on major topics of each unit. They are only 10 points each and are designed to help a teacher get some feedback on where students are at on each unit, without taking up too much time for assessment during this last month of intense review. In Common Core Algebra I, we have a packet of quizzes for Units 4 through 10. For Common Core Algebra II we have these quizzes for all 13 units. For Algebra 2 and Trig, we supply the quizzes for Units 7 through 13.

We will keep posting eMath Newsletters in June and July, but won’t be posting additional add-ons during this time. We will begin to add new ones in the August newsletter, starting with our first round ever of Common Core Geometry add-ons. We plan making the Unit Reviews and Assessments the add-ons for Common Core Geometry next year, which is why the price of those subscriptions are slightly less than others. We don’t know yet what the add-ons will be for the other courses, but plan on exploring Performance Tasks for these courses as well as creating some lessons that address the modifications we are seeing in the Common Core curriculum in New York state.

For now, have a great May! Enjoy Memorial Day weekend and the final sprint. I’ll see you back here in mid-June!!!

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eMath April Newsletter

Spring has sprung here in upstate New York. We’ve had a beautiful April so far. Many school districts in New York are just coming off of spring break, although lucky ones might still be on it. We waited a bit longer than usual to post our newsletter because of both Passover and Easter, but the add-ons are up on the site for the three courses and we have much news to tell.

I’m going to start with Common Core Geometry. We’ve been busy on all fronts with that course. My producer, Joey Shavelle of JoLo Studios, and I have been working on the videos for the course. We have about 70% of them recorded and about 25% of them edited and posted at this point. We plan on having them all done and linked to on our site by the beginning of August. Most will be up by the end of this school year. We decided to edit and post all of them for our Unit #4 on Constructions because I know how easily students forget these techniques.

Construction Unit

We are also working hard to do final edits on both the workbook (must remove typos!!!) and the answer key. Our plans are to have both workbooks and the answer key subscriptions available by Memorial Day weekend of this May. We have priced the Teacher Plus subscriptions at $125 per subscription, which is less expensive that those for our other courses. We did this because the first version of the answer key will not have Unit Reviews and Assessments. BUT, we will be adding those on as we move through the year next year. We plan to publish the Unit 1 Review and Assessment as our August add-on for the course.

In other exciting, and nerve-racking news, eMathInstruction will do its first live video event this June and hold a review for each of the major New York State Regents high school math exams (i.e. CC Algebra I, CC Geo, and CC Alg II). We considered a number of platforms and talked to the demographic we want to reach (i.e. the students) and decided to try it on Instragram Live. We believe this will allow us to field questions and answer whatever comes in. In order to ask questions and watch students will need to follow me. My Instagram username is @kirkweiler.  I’m planning on holding them on Monday, June 12th (Common Core Algebra I), Wednesday, June 14th (Common Core Algebra II) and Thursday, June 15th (Common Core Geometry).  I’m going to try to make these marathon sessions and probably try to go from 5 to 7 or 5 to 8. Please give me feedback on both dates and times. It’s a bit tricky given that Geo and Alg II are on the same day. We will do a practice run in early June. More details in our May newsletter.

O.k. Let’s discuss the Common Core Algebra I Add-Ons. As always, we want to give teachers tools that can use and modify. So, we rounded out our Form B assessments with a Unit #11 Formative Assessment Form B. This is the final unit in the course and we now have Form B assessments for each unit except Units #1 and #2 (perhaps add-ons for next year?). We also posted short, 10 point, review quizzes for Units #1 through 3 in a bundle (so a single file has them all). These are good quizzes to simply do a quick check of understanding for students. They are certainly not comprehensive assessment of all topics in the units (see Formative assessments for that).

For the Common Core Algebra II add-ons we bring you two resources for Unit #13 on statistics. First, we round out our formative assessments with a Form B assessment for Unit #13. As well, we created a packet with four extended statistical simulation problems similar to the ones that we’ve seen tested so far on standardized tests. We tried to make these problem accessible and hope that they give you some extra problems to help students grapple with this type of thinking. I have to say that I spoke with a relative of mine who is a math professor at Penn State and even he is a bit confused by the statistical simulation questions.

Finally, we have our Algebra 2 with Trigonometry add-ons. For this course we created review quizzes for the first six units that are also just 10 points each. These small quizzes allow a teacher to review a unit and hold students accountable for the material, but not take an entire period for the assessments. Most of them consist of two to three multiple choice questions along with a few free response questions. We actually have 8 quizzes in this packet because we broke up the long units #3 and #6 in half to provide more feedback.

O.k. So, that’s about it. I need to get back to editing Common Core Geometry. I hope that everyone is enjoying the nicer weather and all that comes with it. The school year is now more than three-quarters over and we are just about in the homestretch. See you all in May.