Saturday, July 30, 2016

BASS Linear Algebra


That title still cracks me up, apparently the person that named the course didnt realize it was an upper division college course. Oh well. This was a course on linear equations. Lines. Slopes. Intersections.

This was the first time I have ever created my own curriculum and taught it for more then a couple lessons. HOLY COW ITS HARD. I didnt expect it to take 1-3 hours per 55 minute lesson block. But I got through it and here are some things I tried and I tried a lot of things in the four weeks;

Barbie Bungee

This lesson on paper is awesome. It has modeling, written math, visuals, and doll manipulatives! What could go wrong? Well... How about a poor plan, unstructured lesson, little guidance and to wrap up. YIKES! My first time teaching this lesson and almost everything went wrong.

I think my biggest problem was I didnt spend enough, if at all, time predicting what students would do once they got into the lesson.  I started the lesson off full of hope that the students would rush in, and dive right into the math... Nope.  They started tying all the rubber bands onto the feet and then not measuring and just guess and check. Guess and check. Guess and splat goes the barbie... It was chaos, I did circulate to the different groups and steer them back to the modeling. It didnt go as planned at all.

I needed to create better directions, have students collect rubber bands after they have finished modeling the ones they had. I needed to have groups present, or look at each others graphs, or talk about their equations. Something that would show other students what they were doing and seeing if we had a trend.  Maybe try to put it in a desmos class activity so I could project it...  Lots to think about.

Would you rather?

The question was would you rather have to carry 30 bath towels? OR Carry 80 Bars of soup? I projected the picture Up on my board and let the kids get to it. It was a great way to start off the summer session with a open ended question that they looked dumbfounded at me for a bit until they realized I didnt have an equation for them to use.

I brought in a bathroom scale, 5 towels, and 8 bars of soap.  They started by making a prediction, and then getting into groups based on similar predictions.  They then had to create mathematical reasoning to prove to me that their prediction was possible or that they were going to change their stance.

This worked out really well, groups did it different ways. Some did by size, 12 soap fit in the 'volume' of a towel, some did by weight.  They talked about their answers as a class at the end and we had some really good thoughts.

I did more Would You Rather's over the past month of BASS,


I used desmos a lot. A LOT.  I explored lots of other activities that have been created.  The top one for students was polygraph lines.  They liked how they had different partners each time, and how they had something to interact with.

Students had "homework time" and I sometimes sent them home with a Desmos activity to do. My favorite activity to see where students were at with slope was sketchy lines.

Cup modeling

I got this activity from @MaryBourassa (who got it from Dan Meyer @ddmeyer) at Phillips Exeter Math  Conference.

The idea is to use cups to stack up to the teacher's height. BUT students only get 10 cups. They then have to predict how many cups it will take to stack upto the teachers height.

This is the worksheet I used (Thanks Mary)

Students worked well together and created all different ways of doing it, this was much more structured then the barbie bungee.

Story of two lines

I really didnt have an expectation for this one.  I went to desmos and graphed two lines that intersected.  I then had students graph the two lines and write a story about them. 3-5 sentance story at least.  Once they had their story, I broke them into partners and had them share their stories. They then needed to create a better story then their originals. This was my lead in to intersecting lines. Im not sure what the students got out of it, but it sure was interesting listening to what they came up with.

Card sorting!

I found a card sorting desmos activity that came right after my pattern matching lesson, it was great. Kids struggled a little bit, but I think that's because it was the first time anyone has told them that there can be multiple representations to the same thing...

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