Thursday, May 14, 2009

More math

Last week we finished the algebra unit with some work on graphing trend lines and observing the changes that happen when the multiplier is changed. On the first day, following Ruth Beatty's notes, the students took three different composite equations, wrote out tables of values to the fifth position and then graphed them all on one graph, in order to compare the slope ofthe lines. This actually took two days for some groups. The kinds of troubles they encountered were fairly tangential to the main question. For example, they didn't use the blue graph lines on the chart paper, and squashed their work up so that it didn't make sense. Or, put the three lines on separate graphs. On the next day, as a consolidation activity, we viewed the CLIPS video on this topic. Part way through, one student took out a novel and began reading. When I asked her to pay attention, she said, "This is boring, I already know this." Which I took as a compliment. The others were very interested in the video, and seemed engaged with the activities! The novel-reader in fact did very well on the unit test and it was one of her highest marks this year.
The day before this activity I handed out the ONLY worksheet of the unit (from a Bob Tuck book), and wouldn't you know it, the principal and superintendent came in to observe. "Rats!" I thought, or something along those lines. Fortunately, the students were stars and even the Grade 6 fellow was coming up with the right answers, by looking at a table of values, guessing the rule, and stating it using correct terminology.
In starting the probability unit today, I was fascinated by one group's response to a scenario, "What are the chances you will listen to a CD today?" They said, "unlikely," - because no uses CDs anymore, only MP3 players!

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