Friday, September 12, 2014

Can we watch a movie?

Rally days make the students crazy!!  I don't know if it is from being in a gym with everyone sitting so close and sniffing all that body sweat or the loud reverberation of noise we can't understand from the poor sound system, but something about attending those events makes them think we don't need to do math in class.  That couldn't be further from the truth.  I AM NOT ONE to waste any amount of time, even if it is only 40 minutes.

In calculus, we did LOTS of matching graphs of functions with their derivative graphs, and I even snuck in a few second derivative graphs.  I feel like they are getting a better handle on what they should be looking for.  I found this worksheet online that I had given them for homework last night and I like that it forces them to look at the slopes of the graph in table format.  I reminded them that this can be a good strategy when you don't have a clue.  After all, its how they first started graphing back in those good 'ole junior high days.  They want to throw away less sophisticated techniques sometimes and those strategies can be useful.  I used this worksheet page 3 (found online) for a warm-up to get them discussing in their teams. In the remaining time I gave them this worksheet to compare f, f' and f''.  I really liked all of these matching activities and think the students this year will have a much better understanding of what is going on with those 3 graphs.  Plus, the bonus, we are also talking about relative maximums/minimums and increasing/decreasing when those concepts haven't been introduced formally yet.  I'm hoping that all this practice will help curve sketching go much better for students.  I FINALLY feel like I have a better grasp of it myself after all this practice with them!  

For the students who are still struggling a bit, I found this AWESOME game!!  You can make it challenging for the advanced students by having them increase the number of matches required on each game, AND match 1st AND 2nd derivative to f(x), not just 1st.  I put out a challenge to them (since I gave it to them to play at home):  that I scored over 12,000 already and they needed to take a screenshot if they beat my score.  


Students: Can we watch a movie?
Me: Sure! Take out a piece of paper and write down the questions you will need to answer. They are on the screen.
Students: Wait, what?! What kind of movie are we watching?
Me: Duh, a Stats video.
Students: "grumble"
Me: "laughter"!!

If you haven't seen or heard of the Against All Odds--Inside Statistics video series by Annenberg Learner, you are definitely missing out!!  They provide the videos and student guides AND teacher guides for many topics in Statistics.  As a matter of fact, it parallels The Practice of Statistics textbook with examples.  I LOVE this series and don't get to show them as often as I like.  Hopefully I will have more time this year now that I have a flipped classroom.  They are extremely informative and interesting.

Now that I have a flipped model, I am trying something a little different with the Stats students that I haven't done before.  Instead of me writing the notes up on the board for them to copy (verbatim), I am using a question approach.  I give them a question (today it was entire class) and then we answer it.  So I (mostly) tell them what they should be writing down.  I am actually liking this because it forces them to put it into their OWN words and will (hopefully) be more useful as a result.  At the same time, I will (hopefully) teach them how to take notes in a college level classroom (something we really don't teach them in high school because we make them copy it all down verbatim after we give it to them).  I plan on collecting their notebooks to see how they are progressing with the self-note taking.  I'm anxious to see!

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