Friday, November 21, 2008

Move and Learn

A colleague told me about an activity that she had done with her Intro to Algebra Students. She gave them each a card with a fraction on it. She then told them not to talk. They had to order themselves from least to greatest. They could write anything down that they wanted to.
I thought it was an awesome idea. I incorporated it the next day.
The first round I gave them numbers from -12/12, -11/12, -10/12, ...0 ... 10/12, 11/12, 12/12
They did this with only a couple of mistakes in about 4 minutes. I then made cards of the same exact numbers except all were reduced. -1, -11/12, -5/6, -3/4 ... and so on. The second round proved to be a little more difficult than the first round. However, there was a lot of computations going on. There was a lot of movement going on. And furthermore, after they set themselves in order, we checked to see that the order was correct.
And yes, there was some off task behavior when the students were lining up. However, I think they gained a better understanding of what a fraction is and where it belongs than if they had been sitting in their seats watching a fraction lesson.
Extend the Idea:
Give each person in the class an integer on a card. Then I will ask them to pair up with someone else and add their integers. Now ask the class to line up from least to greatest in PAIRS. The students cold multiply the numbers as well.
Move and Learn

Thanks Heidi Heslinga. I appreciate you sharing your idea with me.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Category Sort

This is the latest structure that I have been using in my classes. The directions for this activity are "Sort these into three categories" This gives the students a little less structure than normal. This is how I set it up.
  1. Partner work: I gave the slide to the students. Then, I had the student try to decide if they could combine at least two items together. They continued to put things into categories until they were all in three categories. The students worked together for about 3-4 minutes.
  2. Student Sorting and Explanations: Then I had a student picked at random to come to the board and put two of the items together. That student had to explain why they put the items together. The next student came up and put two more items together, or added to the previous students work. This continued until all the items were in one of the three categories.
  3. More Time: At times, I gave the students some work time with their partner to get the rest of the items into the correct category.
  4. Closure and Summary: Then we reviewed the activity and the key points of what was important.
Always make it student Centered: My goal will continue to make my class student centered. I'm at the back of the class and the students are in the front explaining why they placed items in certain categories.