Friday, September 25, 2015

Teaching Logic Using Games

It's Homecoming Week at Brookings HS this week.  As many of you know, Homecoming Week has an interesting way of making kids forget how to focus, especially on Friday afternoon.

For our geometry classes, we had students play a variety of logic puzzles and games.  Students could choose from three levels of sudoku, two levels of logic puzzles, the iPad app Chocolate Fix, and the board game Rush Hour.

Even though students thought they were given a day off, they were really developing their deductive reasoning skills and fully using conditional statements.

**Special thanks to Ryan Hofer, Horace Mann, and Donors Choose for providing funding to purchase the Rush Hour games.  The kids really gravitated to the hands-on board games!


Friday, September 18, 2015

Student Centered Advanced Algebra 2 Activities

I love it when students are active learners and are collaborating with one another.  I really love it when technology is involved.  The past two days of Advanced Algebra 2 have been a buffet of fun for me.

We have begun our unit on functions.  After a day of discussing topics such as mapping diagrams, function notation, domain and range, vertical line test, etc, we turned our attention to representing and modeling relationships with graphs.

On Wednesday, students analyzed distance - time graphs with a heavy thanks to this MARS MAP activity.  Students worked in groups of two to sort and match the graph, table, and story.

On Thursday, students completed the Desmos Water Line activity.  I have students reflect after doing Desmos activities, and here is what some of my students had to say today.

"It was a fun and simple way of looking at something that can be very complex."

"It made me think, and it was fun to create my own glass."

"It changed the way how I look at how water glasses fill up."

Responses like that are GLORY in its finest form.

I told students that I would take the most creative glasses and post pictures of them on Twitter.  We are hoping that @Desmos will retweet our post.  Time will tell if we were successful!

Here are some of the more creative glasses we had.

E.P. - 2nd Hour

O.D. - 2nd Hour

C.A. - 3rd Hour

Friday, September 11, 2015

Geometric Investigation and the Battle vs. Time

We recently finished up our first unit in geometry class, which includes an introduction to angles.  The last lesson we cover exposes students to the concepts of linear pair and vertical angles.

The Vertical Angles Theorem is one of the easiest for students to investigate using dynamic software.  There are a number of activities available for students to "discover" the theorem by exploring the relationships between the angles.  (Math Warehouse and GeoGebra to name a few.)

In our 1:1 setup, we prefer to use Geometer's Sketchpad to do our geometric investigations.  We have come to learn that it takes time to teach students how to navigate around the GSP5 software.  The dilemma we continually face is 'how much time to do we allocate to letting students struggle through the investigative discovery' vs. 'we can demonstrate this concept to the class in a matter of minutes'.

For example, it takes Jarrod or myself about 35 seconds to build a sketch that allows students to see the Vertical Angles Theorem (see diagram below).  Another two minutes of class discussion as we manipulate the points is really all the time needed for students to get a strong understanding of the theorem.

The Battle vs. Time is one that teachers continually struggle with.  It's hard to know when it's right to allow students the opportunity to struggle with the technology available to us.