Saturday, May 07, 2011

It's been a fun week

This week has been different for me than most of my other teaching weeks.  I tried things in my classroom and they went over mostly well. I don't think I've ever done that before. It's been pretty cool and has helped me to get through. We still have 22 days left (some of which are exam days), so anything to make these last days go easier is good and even better if they learn some things well.

In my Math 1 class, I started the week off with Wii Bowling. You can read the saga here, then here,
here, and finally here. I think I was overly critical in my thoughts about what my students came up with - mainly because they didn't get to where I wanted them to go. @maxmathforum has been very encouraging (among others) in this whole process and he has helped me to realize that maybe I was being too critical. I also think at this point that maybe since most of them have played video games before they don't really wonder about how the score is decided, or they had the thought, it was fleeting and they have long moved on to it. I hate to abandon it at this point, but based on @maxmathforum's last comment (on the last blog post), maybe there just isn't anything definitive that I can confirm as to how they come up with the skill level. But, we did have 2 halfway decent days of class and they did do some thinking about it mathematically, even if they didn't come up with what I wanted them to. And ultimately, it wasn't so horrid of an experience that I won't try coming up with another WCYDWT.
The rest of the week we have been working on polynomials - we are classifying, adding and subtracting them and heading to multiplying them next. I am thinking I am going to try factoring with them, similar to what Kristin Fouss and Julie Reulbach have done. I will definitely start with the x puzzles first.
Algebra 2
We started exponentials and logarithms this week. On the first day, I introduced exponential functions with the question - would you rather have $0.01 each day, doubled each successive day for 30 days, or $100,000? This hooked them in well and they at least seemed to be engaged in the lesson. I really was happy with how it went. We did switching between exponential and logarithmic forms yesterday and instead of having them do a book assignment or a worksheet to practice, I created one of those puzzles where they cut  the squares apart and tape them back together by matching the problems and the answer. You can find it here (it's in Word), It went over really well - all of my students were doing it and several commented that they really liked doing the practice that way. It did take forever to get set up, but after seeing how they responded yesterday, it was worth it. Something new to put in my arsenal.

Where now?
I am still getting together my notebook files for the rest of the exponential and logarithms unit. I do want to incorporate this video into the lesson that has applications of both. I had caught the start of this one evening and it caught my attention (right around 0:30).

If anyone has any other suggestions on the WCYDWT for the video, I always welcome suggestions.

Last, but least, I have to offer some thanks. If it wasn't for twitter and the wonderful readers of this blog, the last week wouldn't have happened. I actually left Friday feeling pretty darn good about how this week went - which is not a normal occurrence for me generally, let alone in May. So, thank you for all your input and encouragement. I appreciate it more than you may know.


Anonymous said...

I actually teach a unit on time of death in my Advanced Algebra course. The crazy thing is it is MUCH harder to do than what she says! You first have to calculate the k value for the rate of decay, which takes an hour to take two measurements, then calculate the time.
I have as spreadsheet that calculates the values for me, and gives the class individualized problems (which is nice) as well as some problems I use to teach it first.
The kids like it the problems, actually. They get into it.
I will shoot you an email with the materials if you want them.

Dvora said...

I have a bunch of those type of puzzles that a colleague from a former school shared with me. I love them and the kids... well it depends. :) I have mostly Algebra 1 topics, but am willing to share if you like. Let me know.