Thursday, August 25, 2016

Opening Day 2016

Our school has a unique way to open the school year.  On the first day, all classes have meetings in the morning in order for the administration to set rules, highlight critical policies, etc.  Then students and their parents come either in the afternoon or evening and experience a shortened schedule during which they go to each class for a 10 minute session.   I don't really think of this as the first day of school, but rather a "back-to-school" event.

The true opening day is the following day.  Students come for our regular Wednesday schedule (1:30 release time) and we dive right in.

This year, I teach advanced algebra 2 during first hour.  I talked briefly about some of the rules / expectations that I have.  The nice thing is that I had most of my students in geometry last year, so many of the expectations are already established.  I gave the students the Google Classroom code and made sure they were all able to gain access.  I also lined students up with their Pearson Realize login information and gave a brief tutorial on how to find resources inside of that platform.

Lastly, we had about 20 minutes of class time remaining and I wanted to get the kids a taste of what we're going to be doing tomorrow.  Our first activity tomorrow what we call the Garden Problem.  It is very much like the Visual Patterns tasks that you can see on Fawn Nguyen's site.  Luckily for me, David Cox and Desmos had an awesome activity created that I had students work on to finish class.

I had students work with their elbow partner to complete the task.  Overall, things went very well.  There is a lot of power in Desmos' ability to sketch on the screen.  Here is an example of one group's work.

I'm really looking forward to using Desmos again this year.  I feel Opening Day was a victory for the home team.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Algebraic Reasoning with Mobiles

This summer I had the opportunity to teach other teachers through the South Dakota Counts program.  I enjoyed working with teachers from around the state and learned a lot from them.

I especially like the resources that CAMSE kicks out each year.  One of my favorite resources that I gained exposure to is Math Mobiles.  These puzzle type challenges do a great job of developing algebraic and logical reasoning.

I did some searching for where I could my hands on some more of these, and thanks to a blogger by the name of JFairbanks , I found a site that not only had pre-made challenges, it also allows you to create your own.

Solve Me Mobiles

Here is an example (I recommend you check out the site and play on there):

Students are to find the value of each shape, assuming that the mobile is balanced and adds to the total weight in the top circle.

I'm excited to try some of these out on my students!