Thursday, November 20, 2014

Day 59: Movies and Patterns

In my humble opinion, one of the major problems with mathematics education (and maybe other content areas as well) is that we take very basic concepts and give them names that are something other than very simple.

Today's example is direct variation.

Two things vary directly when they are proportional!  I like this explanation because it's as clear as mud.

I find that my students are better at understanding concepts when I apply them to real world examples. (Crazy talk!!)

So I took them to the movies.

I'm going to the movies this weekend.
"1 for Big Hero 6, please!"
"That will be $5."

I love the movie so much that I want some students to go with me.  So Bryah and I go back.
"2 for Big Hero 6, please!"
"That will be..."
S: "$10"

Then I decide that it's a little creepy for a teacher to take a single female student to the movies, so we decide to bring a few others.
"4 for Big Hero 6, please!"
"That will be..."
S: "$20"

The 4 of us enjoy it so much that we ask the whole class to go.
"27 for Big Hero 6, please!"

We had a discussion about how you would know exactly how much that would cost because the price of the ticket doesn't change regardless of how many people are going.

To provide a counterexample, we went into the theater and looked at prices and sizes popcorn.  We discovered that with popcorn, it DID matter how much you bought as the price decreases per ounce as you buy more.

I was pleased with the level of engagement and my hand-drawn popcorn.

During the second period, I attempted to an activity from Visual Patterns.  I put pattern #137 up on the board, gave them graph paper and asked them to draw the next 2 patterns in the series.

The majority of the students attempted the assignment, but as I asked them to tell me how many squares would be in the 8th pattern or the 12th, that number quickly dwindled.

I only had 1 person trying to find the number of squares in the 43rd pattern.

I had a second pattern, but we didn't get to it as so many of my students were concerned with their history homework.

90 minutes is a VERY long time for these kids to be in the same room, regardless of how many tasks they work on.

This was, however, a GREAT task for several students in geometry.  It was right on the edge of their frustration level where they felt they knew enough that they couldn't give up.  A few screamed and threw their notebooks, only to cry "OH!" and immediately get them and get back to work.

I was very impressed.

My favorite line from that class had to be tweeted.

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