We begin by giving 5 styrofoam cups to every pair of students. Then I show a picture of me getting my height measured at my doctor's office (in cm). They have to figure out how many cups tall I am. We also almost always need to come to an agreement about how to measure the cups. Quick setup and clean up and almost complete engagement. You can't ask for much more than that.
I didn't do a very good job posting about activities as I did them this year. I'm working through a new Algebra 1 curriculum (I'm not impressed with it) and I'm trying to rethink how I do formative assessment. My activities aren't changing much this year, the amount of time we spend doing activities and experiments feels about right. I guess that's a good thing. Here's an activity we do at the beginning of our unit on linearity: cup stacking. I took this idea hook line and sinker from Dan Meyer and Andrew Stadel. Rather than do this as a 3 ACT lesson, I use it as a chance to get students out of their seats and talking to one another.
We begin by giving 5 styrofoam cups to every pair of students. Then I show a picture of me getting my height measured at my doctor's office (in cm). They have to figure out how many cups tall I am. We also almost always need to come to an agreement about how to measure the cups. Quick setup and clean up and almost complete engagement. You can't ask for much more than that.
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This activity helps students solidify their understanding of the new vocabulary identifying the angles created by a transversal between two lines. To make it a weebit more interesting, we also look at transversals across nonparallel lines. I'm struggling to find time to write thoughtful posts. But I am taking pictures. Here's some fun shots of our Ball Drop experiment in Algebra 1.
This past summer, I was honored by the Colorado Council of Teachers of Mathematics as the 2017 Outstanding Secondary Mathematics Teacher for Region 2. One for each region of the State. I didn't post this in September when it happened, because, honestly, it felt really weird to have people congratulating me. And then life showed up and it got lost as it moved farther down the 'to do' list.
I spent some time this past week reflecting on 2017. While going through my journal I was reminded of this wonderful little event. Part of my desire for this next year is to celebrate more. This is my first attempt.
My school district even gave me a shout out on Twitter:
I'm very thankful to all of the wonderful educators I've worked sidebyside with over the years and those who I've had the pleasure of interacting with online through the #MTBoS. Thank you for your kind words, your wisdom, your patience, and your friendship. I'm so very humbled that I get to be on this journey with such quality people. Without a doubt, I'm a better teacher because of your encouragement to try new things and to fail early and often. You all are the best! I truly believe we are better together. Always. I spent some time searching for a card matching exercise for exponential functions. I found a couple but none that did exactly what I wanted them to do. Rather than spending an hour searching for what I wanted, I spent an hour and made it. Although, to be real, I'm not sure what I made is what I wanted either. I plan to use it early next week. Students match percent growth and percent decay equations, graphs, descriptions, and tables. Not every function has a description or a table. I thought I'd cut down on the process of elimination solution method. I also included some function forms students would probably not be familiar with yet but I would like them to take a stab at looking at the form of the function and guessing what the matching graph might be like. I've included the files as both a pdf and word doc.
Update: I added an extra page with recursive definitions of most of the functions... just in case you want to add the extra step of complexity!

Andrew Busch
I teach Math and Programming at Summit Middle School in Boulder, CO. Categories
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May 2018
