Daily Archives: March 26, 2018

Exponential and Logarithmic Equations Breakout

Last year I created a mini breakout on solving exponential and logarithmic equations.  This year, the other Pre-AP Algebra 2 teacher at my school decided added to the breakout to include finding inverses of exponential and logarithmic equations.


Pearland High School – population 2985 – has been infiltrated by zombies.

It started with one zombie.  In ten minutes, there were 25 zombies.  After 15 minutes, there were 625 zombies.  If this rate continues, the entire student body will be zombies in 30 minutes.

But YOU can stop the zombie attack.  The antidote is locked in this box!  You have 30 minutes to decipher the codes and retrieve the antidote.  It’s as simple as moving left, down, up, right!  Can you break out in time to stop the zombies from taking over Pearland High School?


I placed all three locks (directional, 4-digit, and 4-letter lock) on a hasp attached to one box.  I projected and read the story to the class and asked each group to get an envelope with the clues from me.

Envelope with Color Clue

4-Digit Lock Clues

Solving Equations Clues

4-Letter Lock Clues

Inverses Clues

Several of the groups placed the envelope on an empty desk or up-side-down, so they did not notice the color clue that told them what to do with the solutions to the solving equations clues and inverses clues.  As a hint for groups that requested one, I indicated that they needed to pay attention to the paper on the front of the envelope.

The other teacher placed each lock on a separate box.  She gave each group the story and the color clue that would be used with the other two sets of clues.  The students had to open the directional lock to get the clues for the 4-digit lock.  Then they had to open the 4-digit lock to get the clues for the 4-letter lock.

Groups had 30 minutes to solve the clues to breakout and not become a Zombie.


In my classes, 13 out of 22 groups became “Zombies.”  However, with an additional 15 minutes, only 2 group were unable to successfully breakout.

In the other teachers classes, 1 group became “Zombies.”

I believe the reason my students were less “successful” was because they did not know what to do with all the clues.  Each group “divided and conquered” to solve the exponential and logarithmic equations and find the inverses, but they did not understand which cards went with each lock.  I watched multiple groups switch cards with their teammates to have them check their work, so they had the right answers.

In the other teacher’s class, the students were presented with one set of clues at a time.  Once they had figured out what to do for the 4-digit lock, they were able to transfer that knowledge to decode the clues for the 4-letter lock.



What T3 Means To Me

Inspires My Teaching

At our first TLC (teacher leader cadre) meeting, one of our instructors Jeff Lukens had us purposefully play with temperature probes.  After a few minutes of play, we made connections to math and science.  This inspired me to bring probes into my classroom.  I have written and received two grants from the Pearland ISD Education Foundation and the Pearland High School PTA for CBR2 motion detectors, dual-range force sensors, temperature probes, and gas-pressure sensors.  Now our PAP Algebra 2 students are able to collect data to model linear, quadratic, exponential, and rational functions and make connections to the real-world.

Several workshops I have attended incorporate the TI-Navigator into the presentation.  I have also increased my use of the TI-Navigator in my classroom through quick polls, sending and collecting documents, screen capture, and live presenter.

Inspires My Learning

I do not tweet a lot, but I regularly follow #T3Learns on Twitter.  I have grown professionally by reading and reflecting on the books for the book studies before the T3 International Conference and books suggested by Jennifer Wilson and Jill Gough.

T3 provides the best professional development, whether it is face-to-face or via webinar.  I always leave with something that I can take back to my department or my class.  As mentioned in a previous post, I was inspired to get my computer science certification after attending a mini PD day on coding with the TI-Innovator hub.

Inspiring Others

The math teachers in my district use the TI-Nspire CX.  I want our teachers to embrace the handheld as a learning tool.  I train teachers new to our district on the features of the TI-Nspire CX.  Even though our science departments still have TI-83+ and TI-84+, our students are now coming to science having only used the TI-Nspire CX, so I have also trained our district’s physics teachers.  This year I am going to work with the AP Chemistry teacher on my campus on integrating the TI-Nspire CX into her course.

I presented at the T3 International Conference (T3IC) in Chicago, IL in March on BreakoutEDU using the TI-Nspire CX.  As a first-time presenter at the conference, I was shocked that I was given such a large room for my session.  The room was packed (~80 people), and the session went very well.  I received positive feedback from several attendees.

While at the Conference for the Advancement of Mathematics Teaching (CAMT) in Fort Worth, TX in July, I was waiting for a session to begin.  The presenter was walking around before her session started, and she stopped to ask me if I was presenting at CAMT.  Unfortunately for her, I had just given my first presentation, and she had a presentation the next day at the same time as my second session.  She had attended and was inspired by the breakout at T3IC and wanted to come to my session at CAMT.  Luckily, I was presenting the same thing at CAMT that I had done at T3IC, so she wasn’t missing anything new.

Just the Beginning

I have only been a T3 Instructor for a year, so this is just the beginning.  I cannot wait to see how the T3 community continues to inspire my teaching and learning and how I can inspire others as well.

To learn more about T3, visit https://education.ti.com/en/professional-development/t3-our-mission.