Saturday, March 30, 2013
Dan Meyer posted a "Great Classroom Action!" idea's post that he's received from other fellow math teachers. All-in-all, I like the variety of ideas, but I wondered about the time frame for a few. One was a worksheet, so I know that would've taken a day or two at most, but there was one project about how to find out the surface area of a human. Students were critically thinking for what seemed a couple of days and they talked about different ways to calculate it (with the students' ideas; only mediation from the teacher). One group came up with a theory to measure around the body with a string, one used unit blocks, and one group even tried to calculate the individual fingers! All in all, there were good ideas and there were bad ones, but the point was to use critical thinking to find a solution. The results were off, but they ended this project with a classroom discussion as to where they went wrong and where they went right.
Another project that sounded lengthy was an investigator project. The students pretend to be investigators and solve cases using math. On first glance at the project, it really seemed lengthy, but when I followed a few links, I found that this project was something very malleable, because it's not one long investigation, but it's investigations of small things in short bursts. For example, the first inquiry made by the "SWAT team" was finding the area of a house (which had an areal shot of Micheal Jordan's house), because they needed to know how many people to send in. Another one was finding the height of a thief seen around a statue that was recently stolen (and actually is in real life). Critical thinking ensued and they found different ways to calculate everything. Most of it wasn't right, but because the teacher facilitated this as a group discussion, it headed in the direction of "right". Great post, and I look forward to reading more of his posts.
We know that triangles equal 180 degrees because no matter what two angles you choose, the last angle will be the difference of 180 - (angle A + angle B), but what about other shapes like hexagons and squares? They also add up to a certain degree (540 and 320 respectively), but we can also create different shapes of cross-secting lines with a singular degree, like this one shown below:
As one can see, the shapes are odd, but as Dylan discusses, this is a great way to incorporate geometry for students who like a puzzle. They'll find new shapes and have a great time trying to figure out this classic problem. For more information, visit Dylan's blog, or check out links below: