I started class (Math 8) by going over the problem from yesterday. We talked about how the order in which the questions are being asked may not be the best way to solve the problem. I put a diagram on the board with the information that was given and asked the students what kinds of questions came to mind.
Almost all of them were variations of the three questions that I wanted to answer:
How much water was in the tub at the start?
How quickly is the water draining?
How long does it take to drain the tub?
As we discussed the problem, looking at the various aspects of the problem, we filled in the worksheet in seemingly random order. We talked about what each represented in the real world in the context of the problem. I only had to repeat "there should be no conversations happening right now" a few times.
After we finished the problem together, I gave the second problem in this set. It asked the same questions, but with a different set up:
As you drive home from the football game, the number of kilometers you are away from your home depends on the number of minutes you have been driving. When you are 11km from home, you've been driving for 10 minutes. When you are 8km from home, you've been driving for 15 minutes.
With the previous example still fresh in their minds and (a few) notebooks, they got to work and seemed to have a much firmer grasp of the concepts. They were less trapped by the formatting and more free to explore the problem. With fewer kids asking me questions, I was able to draw some pictures!
In 8th period, I had to remove two students who would not be quiet and once they were gone, the class went VERY smoothly.
In geometry, I handed the Promethean pen to my students who wanted to go through the guided notes. Another group snagged a bunch of practice problems.
One group of young ladies were huddled around a cell phone that was cleverly hidden under the table. Our school has a "no cell phone" policy so they knew they weren't supposed to have it out. When I looked at them, they looked ashamed and sorry for sneaking their phone.
Then they told me what they were doing.
They were looking up challenge problems on Go Geometry.
What terrible kids they are, inappropriately using their phones for the betterment of their learning.
The problem they chose was amazing. I worked on it with them and, by the end of the period, we STILL didn't have an answer.
Some look up math problems!