Saturday, March 24, 2012

New ideas!

My day Friday was filled with activities I *never* would have even thought of in the past.

This was my lesson plan for precalc:

1.  #trigis - I asked the kids to write a tweet with their "definition" of trig. They were limited to 140 characters (7 of which were taken up by the hastag #trigis).  It was fun to see them thinking and editing.  Someone likened it to writing a poem (he had to get kind of fancy with his words to try and condense them). I made them count their characters to ensure they had fewer than 140.  I'm compiling them into a powerpoint (I know, I know) and will show them the results once they're all done.

2.  Infinity Elephants - We're starting a new unit on Monday about sequences and series. It'll be a nice change (they're all "trigged" out). To get them thinking a little bit I showed Vi Hart's video Infinity Elephants. It's always interesting to see what she can do.

3.  How many tesserae?  (Not the right word, but they got the idea).  @calcdave wrote a post on his blog about a sum that appears in the first chapter of a new movie/book series that all the kids are talking about...  something called The Hunger Games.  (Which I devoured as books and am excited to go see tomorrow afternoon with my book club!)  I gave the kids a copy of the excerpt with the sums blanked out (it was where they were talking about how many entries Katniss and Gale had in the drawing).  The kids had fun figuring that one out!

4.  Create a sequence.  I found a task online where students were to pick 2 numbers between 0 and 1 then create a sequence using multiplication and addition. Then we had a nice conversation about the results... depending on the numbers that were chosen, the terms approached a different value.

In Algebra 1:
I didn't have much of a plan. I'd been out on Thursday and hadn't planned ahead well. After we'd gone over some problems (that we hadn't had a chance to talk about previously because of my absence) I had all the kids get a small dry-erase whiteboard to figure out some multiple choice questions. Then we went to PollEverywhere and they submitted their answers.  They loved the idea of being able to text (legally) in class!  I haven't played with it much lately, but apparently you can now use images and some math type in PollEverywhere, so it might be something to check out!

In Algebra 2:
The kids had taken a test on Thursday and we're getting ready to start a unit on Exponential Functions. Seeing as how it was Friday, had been warm all week, 7th period, and several kids were missing because of a choir trip to Chicago, I didn't want to really start something new. I ended up buying a couple of those big bags of M&Ms and they worked through an exponential growth and decay activity using the candy.  It was fun! I have one girl in class who is allergic to peanuts, so I was happy to see that she was in choir and I wouldn't have to come up with a work-around.  They did an exponential regression on their calculators (a new skill for them, but I found some good directions and no one had any issues) so we'll be able to compare equations on Monday. The goal is to lead them to what each of the values in the equation represents, and I'm pretty sure we'll get there!


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  2. Your tweet assignment of definition of trig is a great idea, the 140-character limit forces them to be efficient and precise. It reminds me to do a quick writing assignment of my own: write a metaphor or simile for each math vocabulary. I always have some gems each year. Matt at Math Goes Pop! has a post on the Hunger Games also, but focuses on probability instead. I did an M&M activity for exponential growth and decay also, the candy represented fish in a pond. What a packed and fun Friday you guys had! Thanks for sharing.
    (Is Google and Blogger one of the same? I deleted my other comment since I don't use Blogger, but apparently that is my Google account. Hmm.)