Friday, April 10, 2015

Day 138: Cartographers For Social Equality

I am constantly amazed at how different my classes are.

In first period, we talked about the different types of projections of maps.  It lead into an interesting discussion of race issues and the subtle ways that maps communicate value and importance.

I made a list of random names on the board and asked students to vote for which person they thought was the most important, as predicted, the majority of students selected the name at the top of the list, giving their reasoning as "it was at the top of the list."

So we talked about how that relates to visualizations of the globe, which orients north towards the top.  I asked what they noticed about the majority of the countries in the north.

The natives of those lands are of a more pale persuasion than those in the south.  Was this intentional? That's up for debate, but the subtle implication is that those countries are more important.

I didn't feel like covering content and the students seemed to be highly engaged in the discussion, so I let it continue.  I tied in a considerable amount of math in terms of how the maps are created and how we visualize three-dimensional objects projected onto a two dimensional surface.

In geometry, we've begun our discussion of the Pythagorean Theorem and special right triangles.  This means I got to introduce one of my favorite problems!

Imagine a spider in the lower right hand corner of a wall.  A fly is caught in his web in the upper left corner.  What's the shortest distance to the fly?

THIS problem bores me.  What I like is where this problem can go.

In a room with a spider in one corner and a fly in the opposite corner, what's the shortest distance?

The spider can't fly, so there needs to be a path along the wall that minimizes the distance.

This problem isn't just calculation, but also trial and error, three-dimensional visualization, creativity and trial and error.

Also, I get to draw animals using the Promethean board.

And the 8th period came in.

Yes, it's Friday.

Yes, it's the end of the day.

It may also be the certain mix of kids.

I'm glad it's the weekend.

The teacher in the room next door is blasting the Braveheart soundtrack.

I can't WAIT for EdCampPGH tomorrow!