Today was pretty rough in first period Algebra. I made it about halfway through the lesson and lost all motivation to move forward. The content was dry, students were half asleep and I realized there was almost no value in what I had prepped.
Before going into that, my next period I had to start with something to get students going and to get me going. So I had students go through this activity. It was really interesting to see students become so quickly conditioned, which makes me really think about how easy it is for ME to fall back to direct instruction at times.
Students are so used to having 20 minutes of lecture then 30 minutes of book work followed up with homework that I feel like I am abusing the system when I structure class in that way. This style is so natural for students and nice because all the expectations are already laid out on my end. But, I went into education with a different style of teaching in mind. I do not feel any passion in the subject of students when I teach that way.
I started today with the following slide:
Students ask for the price; so I gave it to ’em.
Do we want $/oz or oz/$? Calculate whichever you think is the most useful.
We had a nice discussion about how grocery stores do this for every. single. product.
Then I had a voice in the back of my mind…
“If stores do this for every product, why bother calculating these rates?”
I ignored it for a while and transitioned into more rates. After students did enough to get bored I mixed things up:
“Where did the dollar sign go?” was the question I asked students. None of them could answer.
Perfect, this leads really well into dimensional analysis, which is exactly what I had prepped for.
We converted between feet and inch for a while then I threw up mph to ft/s and this happened:
Students were able to see what was going on behind the scenes, which I thought would be good. We checked our work using Google.
This is the point where I broke down. What is the point of using long hand conversions when Google can do it in 0.28 seconds? Throughout the day I kept telling myself that it is important for students to see WHY something happens and where units come from, but deep down inside I just don’t believe that.
Today, there was no real foundation for why we use unit conversions, it was just there to say I had taught it. I could give students a bogus answer for why we use them and move on, but in reality Google is just flat out better. I am not really sure where to go from here, probably just keep moving forward and check this off as a great day for personal reflection.