Today in Physics we started exploring the Constant Velocity Particle Model with Buggy Lab. With this being my first year modeling I found the lab very beneficial for the students. Before I discovered the modeling curriculum I always wished that I had something hands-on for students to do with this material, since they struggled so much with it. This was clearly the thing. After we finished students were much better at interpreting x vs t graphs; which made the first worksheet of the unit a breeze for many students.
However, one thing I clearly need to improve on is my ability to hold white board meetings. Full disclosure here, I have need been to a modeling workshop, primarily since there aren’t any held in or near Mississippi. But I have done so much work reading blogs, watching videos, and talking with people about the curriculum so I could do it and my students justice. Yet, how to properly hold these meetings is one thing I found that I struggle with. I often get to the point where the awkward silence of students not talking is too much and I break it with a question, which they answer and then again fall silent. Maybe that’s the key, let them sit in that silence until they fix it.
In geometry we began our investigation into special quadrilaterals and ill have to say, I have tried everything I could think of but I just found this material so hard to spice up. I gave them a sheet where they had to classify a large number of quadrilaterals of differing types, but I made the mistake or putting the terms to be defined on the back so many just skipped the front and started defining the terms. Next year I am going to try to cut out some of these and then give them to the students to group.
We did get to go into the Euler Characteristic, which even my harder-to-motivate students found vaguely interesting. I’m hoping I can infuse interesting math topics into the more mundane geometry topics that I have to cover for ACT purposes.