Thursday, September 25, 2014

Gettin' down and dirty


Never expected to hear this:

Student 1:  I'm getting these right?! (in their disbelief voice)
Student 2: These related rate problems are not that hard. I'm worried that it will get harder.
Student 3:  I get these!! They are not that bad!
Student 4:  I'm sad to leave this class (at end of period).

Today I felt like it was time to prepare them for "the worst".  Of course the problems will get more challenging...but at least I want them to know they CAN do them!  So I warned them by saying: "Imagine you are playing soccer.  It is raining and you are covered in mud AND sweat. This is the game that, if you win, sends you to the CIF finals.  At the end of the game, it is a tie, so you are playing in overtime and you WANT THIS!!  BAD!!  You don't give up, even though you are tired and dirty and sweaty. You 'dig deep'. I want you to have that feeling while you are working these problems.  But to get inspired, you are going to do a cheer. In your teams, you are going to put your hands in the middle and then do your cheer.  You can give me a loud grizzly growl or do another animal of your choice".  They really got into it and here are some of the pics!

 The best part was that after they did their cheers, I gave them the problems and they dove right in.  I didn't see an idle student.  And they get so excited and happy to get the problems right.  If I gain nothing this year, I know it will have been worth it to have students excited to come to CALCULUS class everyday and do challenging problems together.  I really believe that any of their fixed mindsets are quickly changing to growth because they are feeling empowered and that "Calculus is not so bad".  When I have students tell me this is their favorite class, I know I MUST be doing something right!

I set the hook out today!!  We have been looking at linear models for data and seeing how they fit.  Today, I threw them a non-linear data set (reaped from the internet) and enter "curve ball" (perhaps pun intended).  They think it's linear except for that little piece known as the Resid Plot. 

Students: looks like a parabola Torres, so what should we say?
Me: It's NOT linear!!  But how could we straighten the data so that r and r-squared make sense to use?  Entrance logarithms!
Students:  groan
Me:  remember, you have "hamsters" (graphing calculators) to do the work for you.

After they had checked all the model requirements, we had to figure out how to transform the equation.  Dun dun dun.... (suspense music) and the bell rings. 

Students: We need to know!!
Me: Tomorrow!!
Students: groan. You're killing us!!
Me: smile

I love my job!!

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