Monday, March 23, 2009
The Human Ambigous Case
Today was something new for me. I put a masking tape angle on the floor. It was an acute angle. Then I had a tall person and a short person volunteer for the activity.
I had the tall person on the ground in line with the acute angle already on the floor. I had the short person forming a triangle with the tall person and the tape on the ground. It was quite a site. The students were really interested in what was happening. Keeping the same vertex, I asked the students to make another triangle if possible. The students found it quickly. I had a third student put masking tape on the triangle positions that were formed. I had the students talk with their partner and write down any observations they had about the resulting figure. We had a rich discussion sharing out their ideas.
Then I formed groups of three with the class. One of the three was to cut out a longer strip of paper, another was to cut out a short strip of paper, and the third was to cut out an acute angle. The were to physically make the SSA example with their paper Side, Side and Angle. All groups worked well with this and some interesting results occurred. The usual two case scenerio occurred. One group found that theirs did not reach. Another group found that theirs only formed one triangle. Each group of three drew their results on the board.
It gave me a way to describe something mathematical in an easy way. I used language like Side (Anthony) Side (Michelle) and Angle (Acute). After I felt like the students were much more engaged in the process. It took most of the period to do it. We did one problem at the end of the class and that problem went extremely well. I think that moving while learning is important for the brain to remember what is happening.