Saturday, February 21, 2009

Pythagorean Theorem using an IWB

First, this activity will take about 20 minutes.
Show the students the problem and make sure they know what is being asked. Don't give any clues as to how to solve it. Have them work in pairs to come up with a plan to solve it.
After about 3-5 minutes pick a pair at random to explain their plan. A class discussion will take place on the plan. Then that pair will start executing the plan and all in the class will do the math for that plan. Plans have differed from class to class. But, they will definitely need to use the Pythagorean Theorem to get the answer.

The students solution: Usually it will be to measure two sides with the ruler, and then find the third side using the Pythagorean Theorem. They now have the 3 sides in centimeters. Then they measure the key in centimeters. They sometimes use a proportion to convert the centimeters to miles.

It is great fun to watch the student trying to use the ruler on the IWB to measure. The students are using collaboration, problem solving, and math skills with this activity.
Hope you can try something like this in your class,

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Pumping up the Brain Video

CBS's Debbie Turner Bell came out to our school in December and she made a very nice 3 minute story called "Pumping up the Brain" It aired nationally in January. Debbie and her crew made us all feel very comfortable. Hope you enjoy it.

CBS Early Show Link Video

CBS Early Show Written Story

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Fill in the Missing Pieces

My colleague coined it scaffolding for our students. He is right. We need to build some structure help to our weaker students. Here is what I did. Instead of just solving an equation, I solved the equation myself and then took out key parts. I made labeled these "blanks" with letters so that the students could communicate with each other which "blank" they were referring to. The students then were given time to work this out with their partner. Then I randomly picked a student to go up to the board and fill in a missing spot. Interestingly the student who started picked the middle to start with. See video. Students came up one by one until they hardest spot was left. All of the explanations were very good. Things like, "you have to add it to both sides" came out. I like when that happens. I'm trying to build a little challenge for my stronger students as well as a little guided help for my weaker students.

The second video looks at a different class in a pre-calculus example. This uses the same idea as above, except it has some diagrams involved.

What do you think?
Remember to Take Time to Enjoy Teaching,