I decided to take some mathematical inspiration from my cookbooks. They present, for example, techniques to prepare "Lentils, Four Ways." Here are two ways to cook up some 2x2 determinants. These problems were meant to introduce determinants to students who had previous experience with matrices. Each problem asks the student to start with a specific calculation and move to a general formula. My students did remarkably well deriving the formulas and noticing that a certain formula seemed to reappear!
I'm always interested to hear what's happening in your classroom. You can send your comments to me here.
I started this blog to share my transformation from math nerd to math nerd who loves to share math with young people. I teach high school in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Your comments are always welcome.