Coming off of Thanksgiving break I feel ready to go. In Algebra, we are just starting to work with slope. I am excited for tomorrow’s lesson… stay tuned for that.
I graded Geometry’s concept tests over the break, and a majority of the class bombed Triangle Congruency… Hard.
The fact that 7/8 of the classes scores didn’t raise tells me I messed up somewhere along the way. We spent about 40 of the 49 minutes in the period reviewing different problems on whiteboards. I think it helped them quite a bit.
For the last 9 minutes I threw this up on the board:
They were giggling and having a great time. I thought it was interesting that none of my 20 students tried to make the side at a slant… Taking the easy way out I guess.
After about two minutes I revealed the bottom of the slide:
It is really interesting to me that after about 3 seconds, most of the class decided it would be too much work and checked out.
Did I ask the wrong question? Were students not perplexed by this? Is there a lower entry point into coordinate geometry that would have been more effective? Was a bad idea to give this problem with 7 minutes left?
I don’t regret asking students to find a place to start on this for homework. I set the bar high… Students should see that I want them to struggle and be challenged.
This summer I went to one of Dan’s workshops. One idea that stuck with me was you can always add to a problem, but you can never take away. I believe that if I led students through a coordinate geometry problem before hand, it would take away from the magic and struggle that makes math so great. Working at a problem for a longggg time then finally getting it, ya know?
I had parent teacher conferences a few weeks back, the only talking point I had planned was to project my class goals up on the board for parents to see. These were on my syllabus this year and I refer to them constantly to make sure I am excited and passionate about what I am teaching…
Here they are:
- Encourage the development of mathematical reasoning by:
- Incorporating multimedia into lessons.
- Presenting students with low entry and high exit problems.
- Focusing on student work.
- Develop patient problem solving skills.
- Make math social.
- Provide the appropriate level of mathematical rigor for each student.
I believe there is an appropriate place for guided examples, notes and repetition; after the struggle. After students discover and apply the mathematical tools that make their lives easier.
Tomorrow I am planning on having students talk about the problem for a few minutes, creating a plan of attack with their groups, then trying it again. I will work in examples along the way according to where they are at in the solution process.