Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Conical Art & Reflective Piece

A project done previously at my school was having the students design art work / images that featured the graphs of the conic sections. Infamously, the least favorite project, but most definitely a beneficial one. This semester, the kids loved that for the first time, I assigned a project that didn't force them to think too hard, other than what to draw. The purpose of this project was getting kids to graph the conic sections. Hyperbolas can be tricky but with the lovely rectangle trick, they're not that bad. As the kids reflected for me, this project really helped firm up the basics as far as lengths of axes went and how to draw the sections.

As we do design challenges at our school, this time I had the project focus on their product created with olive oil that symbolized their efforts.

This student's group created olive oil based paint that she then used to paint on canvas.

Clearly this student took the more abstract approach to creating a picture about olive oil but I still loved it! These two were pretty artsy all semester long :)

I've included the project description as well as the rubric below. Next semester, I'll probably stick to the documents being typed so that I can better read their reflections of the process. I'd like to think that this was another contributing factor with the success of conics this semester.

Identifying Conics - An Investigation, A collaboration, A game

Prior to leaving my kiddos alone for two days before their test (I was in a wedding), I spent our last bit of time together "teaching" them how to identify conic sections. Now, I spent a good amount of time planning the pieces to this lesson as I was being doubly observed (my resident educator mentor as well as one of my administrators).

The night before, I assigned a small investigative homework assignment where the kids were given four equations and asked to state which equation was which conic section. The goal was to have them not do this algebraically but of course, they did as they hadn't known any other method.

When the kids entered the room, they were split into groups. In these groups, I had the kids discuss which equation they thought was which conic section. After about 5 minutes of justifying these to one another. The class shared their results and they typically struggled with the hyperbola and circles. With each equation, we discussed qualities that made it a particular conic section all the while, I was recording these observations on the board.

Their next assignment, as a group was to create a flow chart that would help a fellow student determine which conic section they were looking at. Now, as I have previously mentioned, my students weren't quite sure what dominos were so I also had a discussion about what a flow chart was. After creating an appropriate definition, I provided a slightly humorous example that I added some humorous commentary to.....

Some of my kids questioned whether or not we actually went through this process. I also added in my thoughts on the second question, if you are carrying an empty water bottle when you ask the question, what do you think the answer would be..... They had never thought about that before... hilarious.

Anyways, so my kids then created the flowcharts and my favorite part was that nearly none of them were designed the way that I would have created them. And that was okay because it lead into a difficult discussion about the different between "2" and "-2" as being two different coefficients. Many of the students forget that they are two different numbers as they do not regard the sign as part of the coefficient. When this was addressed, I asked the students how they could account for this on their flow chart.


After the flow charts were created, a member from each group lead us through the questions they asked based upon a random equation that I provided to them. This allowed for us to see any mistakes they may have encountered.

Halfway through the day, I realized that the kids needed more practice before getting into the game that I had set up so I added classwork practice and the kids were really excited when they were getting answers correct that they had taught themselves. In fact they were so excited, that during the game, we were a little too loud and had to have quiet time, sad face :( but it was still kind of awesome about how pumped they were!

The final activity that I had the kids do was play the flyswatter game described by a function of time blogger. I had pinned this activity a long time ago and couldn't wait to use it as the lesson itself, was pretty easy and desired something more. For my kids, I gave them much more difficult conics (thus, the reason I added classwork practice) and I don't include rational functions as originally described in the game. I've included my equations below. Be very thorough in your classroom expectations, you have been warned!

The kids LOVED the lesson that day and I could verify that as we had school observers come into my classroom at the end of the lesson (this happens frequently at Metro) while the kids were taking a schoolwide survey, boring. I sadly said to the adults that they had missed all of the excitement when.... One of my students enthusiatically jumped up and explained to them the entire day's lesson. She ran over to me asking for her groups' flow chart so that she could explain it to the observers before telling them about the fly swatter game.

Overall, I LOVED the lesson and got great feedback from my administrator. She offered that I should add a postassessment onto assistments for my own feedback, which I proceeded to create that afternoon for next year :) Oh, and this semesters' algebra 2 class LOVED conics, unlike previous classes. GO CONICS!!!

Angry Birds Launching Quadratics

I can't give credit to myself for developing the Angry Birds project but I will say that my kids thought I was pretty darn awesome for assigning the project!! Initially, there were groans and whines that they had another project to do, but after each project, I actually had a student inform me that he loved my projects and that he put aside his organic chemistry to do them (he is a smarty pants and LOVED writing a children's book).

Before assigning the project, I did give my kids a "real world" warmup problem that I found on the lovely pinterest via teacherspayteachers. This was a great introduction as it allowed for the kids to discuss with me why negative x and y values shouldn't matter in these contexts (allowing for points to be deducted in the angry birds projects, mwahaha). It also got them thinking about other uses of quadratics and how questions could be phrased.

So I give you credit Mr. Orr, you rocked my socks and you rocked my kids' socks.

I did tweak the rubric ever so slightly after looking at a few of them. One aspect of this project that I really did like was giving the students' the CHOICE in working with a group or individually. This saved my butt this semester when a parent emailed me asking me: "What are you going to do about the fact that my child worked on his group project completely alone?" I love conversations about children's choices :) Another thing that I loved is the requirement of domain and range. Our students don't see piecewise functions until trigonometry so the concept of being restricted was VERY difficult for my kiddos. I really thought that this firmed up that idea :)

While the parabolas were not the best, I did thoroughly enjoy this project. :)

Complex numbers, as told through a children's book

Last semester, I had my trigonometry students write me a children's book about inverses of functions. I loved this project and thought it was a great way to help students understand the concepts while creating a wonderful guide for the kids when it came time to study for their finals. I really wanted to find a way to incorporate it into my Algebra 2 class, so ta da!!! Here it is! In complex number form!

Complex numbers were actually a lot better for the kids to write a story about because it was a more "basic" concept and the kids really benefited from our conversations of why (especially when solving division problems and how to multiply by the conjugate).

You can sort of tell in this picture that I was living like a hobo in my old apartment prior to moving (I had no bed and slept on a mattress on the ground....). As my blog has shown, my life in the last couple of months has been hectic to say the least between moving, a wedding, a new dog, remodeling small parts of the condo, and blah blah blah....

When trying to decide how in the world they would start their project, I gave alot of the kid's some thoughts. For example, "What was your favorite childhood book?" With some inspiration, I got wonderfully unique yet classic stories.

I also had wonderfully artistic and creative ones! This student hand water painted each page!! She used this in her end of year presentation in advisory to showcase her hard work :)

I also had students who were pretty awesome at rhyming :)

Formative Assessment Lessons - They are more fun than they sound!

Alright, here was the list of topics that I would soon be posting about....

- Formative Assessment Lessons (professional development that focused on these lessons)

- Angry Birds Level

- Conical Art

- Identifying Conics investigation leading to group work leading to fun with fly swatters

- Real World Racing to solve work rate problems

So first up is these Formative Assessment Lessons.

During J-Term, the math department started professional development with some of the other local STEM school teachers. We were introduced to these lessons that I call MDC (math design collaboratives). Essentially, the lessons are broken into several parts, a preassessment, an introduction, an activity, a discussion, and a postassessment. I decided to do 3 this semester and for the most part, I loved the lessons and the kids did as well! One of the tricky things I found about these lessons was the fact that they basically come scripted..... which initially I felt like I didn't have the ability to give my kids as much information as I wanted to but again, that was the purpose. The kids were to discover on their own and make mistakes (we weren't to correct these).

This is the lesson focusing on graphing quadratic functions. After giving the preassessment and discussing how 3 different equations can actually represent the same graph (because each equation tells us different information), the kids played dominos (this did require me describing how to play the game.... shocking!!!!).  They loved this activity and their favorite part of these activities is that I allow for them to display their work on a poster, as described by the MDC activities.

The titles of the lessons that I did this semester included:

Equations of Circles (2) - during my conics unit, I loved that it dealt with intercepts as this is a topic that  I don't focus on during the unit [it's one that is discussed during the course but should be continued to be understood]

Defining Regions using Inequalities - PERFECT for systems of inequalities as it allows the kids to use many different ways to solve these systems until they finally recognize how quickly graphing can work. Plus, the activity is a treasure hunt! Their homework last night was a worksheet that I had found called "Ohio Jones," they thought I was hilarious.....

Lessons are still being created, in fact, I have the file for one about properties of radicals (I ran out of time to do that in my last unit but I firmly believe that it would have been a great addition...). Another great feature of these lessons is the fact that they have middle school level! I'm hoping to be doing alot more work with the program starting in the fall as these lessons were a great example of how to NOT do a traditional lecture lesson :)

Okay, posts that I still owe you:
- Angry Birds Level

- Conical Art

- Identifying Conics investigation leading to group work leading to fun with fly swatters

- Real World Racing to solve work rate problems

I'll work on it but my precious puppy is sleeping next to me and I just want to play :)

What do teachers do during the summer?

Hello all!

So I'm now starting my third week of summer! Woo hoo! When I first started my summer break, I googled, "what should teachers do during summer?" If you know me personally, you know that I simply google everything, down to how to react during situations and blah blah blah. Anyways, a reoccuring theme that I saw said that teachers should not do anything school related for about a month. I liked this idea so it's exactly what I've done! Unfortunately for you, that meant a further extension hiatus of my blogging about lessons... I consider that to be school related as it forces me to think about the lessons that I did during the school year.... Some other things that I found were to take time for yourself (I scheduled a facial for July, yay!) and to sleep for 24 hours (I think I've only made it 10...). But here are some other things that I've done....

Meet Sonny! I adopted this little guy during the first week of summer. He has quite the story, unfortunately, but is a total sweetheart! He loves to cuddle and enjoys hanging out with humans (dogs, not so much - see scarring on nose and other parts). We even got him a life jacket so he could hang out on the boat!

I've also been working on things around the condo! Inspired by pinterest, I made a wreath for my door after several trips to Michael's (I kept forgetting things...). I've also begun my search for the perfect paint colors for the master bedroom and guest bathroom. The guest bathroom is also under construction as we are working on creating a built in shelving unit where the medicine cabinet used to be. Boyfriend also installed the new lighting for me just so that I could take it down when I am ready to paint, he's so sweet.

What do you do during the summer? As it's already almost July, I'm afraid that I'm going to run out of time despite being super bored for the most part (since boyfriend works, I can't do a whole lot of construction on my own during the day).

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...