For the third day of school, second day of my class for my A-day students, we dove head first into the curriculum in both subjects.
Geometry began with an extension to our study of proportional reasoning. For this I used Dan Meyer’s (@ddmeyer – a great follow for STEM subject area teachers) Nana’s Chocolate Milk, which asks students to correct a cup of chocolate milk according to a given recipe. This activity provided students with a great opportunity to use multiple representations. Some students used graphs showing the linear relationship, others chose to plot these on a number line by keeping the scales equal, awhile others still chose to just find the proportion with simple division. Either way, there was some really rich math going on here. I also don’t expect to see any messed up chocolate milk
After the milk discussion, and egg and flour sequel, we went back to our discussion of definitions. Students bought into the fact that to have iron-clad definitions we need to start somewhere, undefined terms. I then got to introduce them to the father of geometry, Euclid, as well as the father of modern philosophy, Socrates, by using Erek Johnson’s, @ejexpress, Socratic Dialogue Game. They had a pretty good time with this and it was quite entertaining to see the frustration of constantly getting asked questions no matter how well thought out their response was. We finished the day up with students scavenger hunting for examples of line, point, and plane (our 3 undefined terms).
Even though Physics isn’t a standardized tested subject in Mississippi, I still think that it is important to get valid data in order to measure student learning gains and to use this data to evaluate one’s own pedagogy. So, I gave my students a pre-test. And they hated it! All they could think of was how hard it was, or how little they knew; even after I reiterated that it was indeed a pre-test and assured them that by the end of the semester they would know most of it. So I had to give them some inventive and I told them that after they finished we would do a “fun” activity.
After the test we started studying some physics with a narrated trip through the powers of ten. This lead to a good review of scientific notation; which, thankfully most of them had seen before. I still ran off a good little review sheet for each student to keep in their notebook.
After this, and a quick discussion about dimensional analysis (and I mean really quick due to the fact that I didn’t have very good notes set aside for the discussion) I made good on my promise of a “fun” activity. Similar to last time we did another design project, index card tower. I tweaked it a bit by only allowing 4 index cards but the overall project was pretty much the same.