Saturday, April 16, 2011

My first foray into WCYDWT

Well, be gentle with me, dear readers - this is a total new venture for me. I have been bouncing this in my head for a while but I have no idea where to take this. My target audience is freshmen who has some Algebra experience have low math skills (my Math 1 class). I am hoping to do something with this in the next few weeks. I feel I have nothing to lose - and possibly lots to gain.

When I have played Wii Bowling with my kids, it keeps track of our scores.

After we are done, it gives us a "skill level." I suspect it's linear but I want to know how it comes up with it.

So here are the thoughts I have had about this:
1) I want the kids to Wii Bowl in class. I think that's my buy in with the kids. My classes are mostly boys but this Wii game is accessable to all. You can bowl as a guest and see scores.

2) I have no clue how to develop this activity. I have no idea where to start or where to have the kids start. I know I need to take some time to head over to dy/dan and look at the other WCYDWT so I can get a better idea. As I said at the beginning, I have a little time until I would do this, but not much. Hence, I need some help and feedback from you all as to where to go with it.

3) I purposely skipped writing linear equations with this group because I didn't feel they could do it. I am now thinking maybe if I frame it in this context that maybe they will surprise me. So I know going in they don't have any background on writing linear equations. But, they have done slope and writing equations if they are given the slope and the y-intercept, so they may be able to get there.

Please help! Any and all suggestions are greatly appreciated.


Dan Anderson said...

I think that one of the most ideas with wcydwt is the driving question. They need the burning desire to answer the question and that will guide the actual math. Maybe something like "If I'm at skill level 654, how well do I have to bowl in the next 3 games to become a pro?

I don't think that the students actually playing wii bowling is completely necessary, it could even be a distractor. But then again it might very well be a motivator depending on the students. Good luck and let us know how it goes.

Anonymous said...

I am by no means a WCYDWT pro, but I have found when teaching younger ones (I'm talking of 7th graders here) I have to frame the plan with them more as a group before they really go at it. For instance, your idea involves data collection and organization, and I know I would probably have to help them realize that making a data table first would be necessary.

Regarding Dan's comment above, I've been trying to really think about developing these questions (or presenting situations which develop questions). Something I tried with my 7th graders which was effective was I made each group begin by stating the question they wanted to explore (I had actually given them a template with this as the first box). Having them think explicitly about what the question was rather than how to answer it was helpful for them. Downside - they might not go in the direction you intended.

I really like your idea and look forward to hearing how it goes. And I'll probably steal it. You know how it is.

ClimeGuy said...

Wow. I just discovered your blog. You reminded me of something I was thinking to do that we maybe can collaborate on doing. I'm looking to collaborate with middle/high school teachers who are interested in figuring out ways to get students who are not all that interested in math to engage in some solid mathematical thinking. Your bowling activity is a cool way to do this. In my high school teaching days you would find these kids in classes called "general math". I created a simulated game (no technology - this was 1969 :-) which had my kids who were very weak in their basic skills learn how to keep score in bowling. I was very pleased how eager they were to learn to do it and it made them feel good about their new ability. The computerized bowling scoring that we now have has deprived a lot of kids of doing a cool form of math - learning how to keep score!

I'm going to give some thought to how I would do your Wii based activity if I had a set of kids to do this with. I'll get back to you probably tomorrow. I gotta find my notes from 1969. :-)
-Ihor (aka Climeguy)