Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Day 66: Discussion

The biggest hurdle I've faced in trying to adapt a modeling approach with geometry is the students. It's possible that 10th graders are inherently unable to handle such a collaborative approach, but I personally think it's a more local phenomenon. The issue that is truly making things difficult is the size of my classes. I'm beginning to think that 35 10th graders might not ever be able to pull off student led class discussions. 

And I would be ok with that if all it meant was that I had to do more of the leading. But inevitably, the cycle we've fallen into is that when it's time to go over a worksheet, we might only get through 2 problems because the students are simply unable to focus in a constructive fashion long enough to accomplish anything significant. Some students then take the view that if I don't personally go over the answer to every problem in detail, I don't have the right to move the class forward and assess them on their knowledge. This sort of learned helplessness is obviously a learned behavior, but it's an incredible impediment to try and undo in 10th grade. 

In any event, we went over as much as we could from U4 WS3 on the 30/60/90 triangles. There's honestly not that much to go through, if you have the 2 models down regarding the connections between short leg/long leg and short leg/hypotenuse, all that's left is identifying the legs in a triangle, substituting into the proper model and solving. I am at least making headway in convincing the students that the geometry aspect of the work is very simple and basic, but it's actually their struggles with algebra that are holding them back. 

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