Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Day 5: Instruction & Practice

The goal for today was to connect yesterday's activity (creating lines of people and then describing them) to the notion that equations are just a way of describing lines with symbols instead of words. The first half of class was discussion (led by me, but I'm serious - it was a discussion and NOT a lecture), and the second half was practice on U1 WS1. 

A couple of thoughts:

  • My guess is the because this is a review unit, the students think it's beneath them, so they shouldn't have to listen. I really don't think the approach is to blame here, because I can't imagine lecturing being any more engaging than the discussions we've been having. But at the same time, when it came time to practice on the worksheet, most kids got stumped FAST. 
  • These kids really just want to be right. To the point where if there's a chance they're not right, they'll just leave the question blank. It seems like all I heard today was "I need your help - is this right?" I just kept asking them to show how they got their answer (which they hate). One girl caught on real quick - she's already labelled me as part of Team No-Answer. Awesome.
  • I felt kinda weird about the discussion as it doesn't seem very modeling-esque. But I reassured myself that there really are some things you can't discover, and the intro unit is a good place for that (I'm thinking of linearizing graphs in physics). At least I didn't lecture in the sense that I did NOT say "this is slope intercept form, memorize it" (or anything along those lines). 
Tomorrow is where the rubber will meet the road as I ask groups to whiteboard and present selections from the worksheet. Can they manage a respectful discussion? Are they ok with presenting answers they might not be 100% confident with? Will the understand the importance of leaning by making mistakes? Tune in tomorrow to find out!

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