Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Laptops ROCK!!


Today we had to take a step back from the problems I assigned for homework last night.  I know that they were "killer" problems involving Chain Rule for Derivatives.  I only assigned 8 and some of them they had already worked on in class.  The "book" overshoots a little in what it expects, so I wanted something a little more realistic.  Mooculus to the rescue!!  I will continue to say how awesome that site is:  IT'S AWESOME!!  We are already in Week 5 of this wonderful resource!!  The kids went right to work on taking the derivatives.  There were mini whiteboards out everywhere and I watched and helped and answered questions.  What was amusing to watch was how soon they switched to the large whiteboards because the mini ones were not big enough.  I expected to quickly hear "all the work on one whiteboard for ONLY one problem", but not a single student made that remark all day.  They were actually having fun!

Student 1:  Why do they keep giving me the easy problems?!(they were NOT easy--it's chain rule and they all had either product or quotient involved)
Student 2:  These are fun!
Student 3:  It was so easy, I thought I did something wrong!

There was even a moment in every class where I "timed them out" to gather round a problem that one student had started, just so we could discuss simplifying the quotient problems.  And the interesting note is that normally that one student would feel awkward from having everyone watch them, but I simply said "so and so" is our recorder, so what do we want him/her to record?  It was no big deal then.  I LOVE how they are getting so comfortable talking about math and doing math together!! 


Here are my THREE picks of the day for AP Stats!! First I started with a lesson from Mathalicious! If you are not familiar with this website, you should DEFINITELY check it out. We were doing a lesson designed for the common core curriculum at the Algebra 2 level, but it was very easy to use in my AP class as well.  I added a bit to it, in that I used online software to help the students get to the level of thinking they need to be in AP.  The lesson (called Win at any Cost) had students   comparing team salaries and number of games won among four different sports (MLB, NBA, NFL and NHL).  OF COURSE it generates a lot of interest and discussion as they work.  To facilitate their generating lines of best fit and correlation values quickly, I put the data tables into a google spreadsheet and let them use StatKey and Interactivate.  These tools are very useful and much faster than their graphing calculators, which they have been using until now.  It think it's important that they know how to use other forms of technology beyond their calculators (I'm guessing in the real world they will not be carrying those around with them).  This turned out to be an awesome way to  discuss how we can predict for either variable.  I can hardly wait until tomorrow to start talking about residuals and build on what we started today!  Interactivate will show the residual graph next to the original scatterplot!!  

Of course one of the best parts is how much fun they are having while being totally engaged! Again, I reiterate:  I love my job!

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