Sunday, March 18, 2018

Prepare to Fail & Fail & Fail again #mtbosblog18

I volunteer as our church youth minister in the same town in which I live and teach.  It is fun to be with a lot of my students outside the classroom.  Last night, we had our mystery all-nighter.  We have the kids sign up to go out to 2 unknown sites and then come back to the church and stay up until 6 am.  This year we started with glow bowling and a pizza dinner.  It was candlepin which I remembered I am not a fan of.  I prefer 10 pin (big ball).  I stunk at candlepin.  With the first throw I was surprised to see the bumpers were up for everyone, but good thing, because even with them I got one pin at a time.  Very frustrating, but the kids had fun.

Then, I was so excited to move onto our second site, Boda Borg Boston.  We came up with the idea of doing an escape room but they usually only fit like 8 people.  We had 45 kids and 7 adults, so I googled and found Boda Borg.  I asked where they had others and was surprised to learn this is the only one in the US and they started in Sweden.  Think IKEA, very sleek and minimalist.  A fascinating concept of quests.

(I didn't take any pictures.  I could have brought my camera in but didn't want to drop it.) 

On the website, it says there are 17 quests and you should be prepared to fail.  Most people do not figure it out the first time through.  Okay, how hard can it be?  Well, so hard - no - challenging.

The building itself is so cool.  There are two floors.  The main floor is the lobby with a big area of tables and a taco bar.  It wasn't open for us.  We did it 9pm - midnight.  There are 2 quests on this floor and 15 quests down stairs.  They sat us down for some instructions and the most important thing was to be aware of doors.  There are lots of doors and people will be coming out of them all the time.  This is a very accurate warning, so many doors!  The doors to enter the quest are painted green for a mental quest, red for a physical quest, and black for both mental and physical.  Outside each door is a little frame with the name of the room and sometimes a brief description that may or may not be helpful.  Above the door is a small tv/computer screen with a green triangle on it.  If it is flashing, then somebody is using the room or the room is being reset.  Just the technology was so cool.  Once you enter, you begin.  You don't know if it is just that one room you have to figure out or it might lead to another room.  When you enter the room, it is very simple looking.  Sometimes it seems way too simple and you have no idea what to do and then the buzzer goes off, a red circle appears on the computer screen above the door and you have failed.  You have to exit and then enter again.

I was on a team with 2 other chaperones.  We tried and tried and tried.  We would try a room like 10 times and then decide if we wanted to move on, which we usually did.  You aren't supposed to give others hints, but it is so fun and exciting, it can be hard not to.  We would be waiting in the hall and see other groups of our kids and kept checking in to see if they completed any rooms.  When you complete a room, you get to stamp your passport.  We made it a competition among all of us, but in a fun, encouraging way.  They were excited to give us clues which we needed and gladly took.  It was fun to hear the excitement as they explained what you had to turn or look for or be careful of.  They did better than us, but we stuck with it.

We went into one quest called Rats and a group of our boys were in line behind us.  They asked if we had been in and we said no. They said they had.  They made it to the third room and there were 5 rooms, but they were figuring it out. We walked in and looked around and then the buzzer went off and we failed.  We didn't even have time to do anything.  We could hear the boys laughing at us through the walls.  All in good fun.

The students started to feel for us as we hadn't completed any yet.  They said go upstairs and try the farm one, that is the easiest one.  It took us 3 times and we did it!

But, man, talk about failure.  It was really humbling.  You think are a smart, capable adult who stinks at candlepin bowling and then you go here. Phew!  In three hours, we successfully completed 3 out of 17 quests.  I don't even think we tried them all.  You get stuck on one and keep failing but keep trying.  You exit and you think about what you need to do and then you try that and it doesn't work, so you rethink.  There is so much strategizing! 

We did figure out the quiz show room.  It was three rooms and took us about 25 times.  I'm not kidding, but we were determined.

And, the other one we completed was called Tough, Tougher, and Toughest.  This room was a little different in that when you completed one room, you got a Tough stamp and then next room you would get the Tougher stamp.  It was a physical room with the ground painted red like lava and you had to use monkey bars and mountain climbing knob things to work your way through the room without touching the floor.  We finished the first room and got the Tough stamp. 

I am surprised more people aren't talking about it.  It has been here for 2 years.  I think it will grow in the US.  It is so fun!  Did I say that already?!

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Feb 18 #MTBoSBlog18

This is part 2 of my #MTBoSBlog18 series, when I am blogging on the 18th of each month during 2018.

It seems like Jan 18th was long ago and I have been anxiously February 18th since Christmas.  My amazing 4 sons got me an unbelievable Christmas present - a plane ticket to go to Florida to see my parents who live there.  I was shocked when I opened the present and speechless.  One ticket, just for me.  They have lived there for 6 years and I haven't visited.  They come up once or twice a year for special occasions.  I have sent my kids to visit, but I can never afford the plane ticket to visit them because tickets are crazy expensive during school vacation week and I really don't want to visit in the hot summer.  I invited a friend to come along (my husband can't take the time off).

It is a lot to plan to go away for the week - plan for school, for family stuff, and for the trip itself.

For school, I gave 6 quizzes and tests this past week.  My goal was to have them all graded by Friday at 2 pm so it wouldn't hang over my head.  DONE!  My Algebra 1 and 2 classes finished up with tests which means that I need to be ready to go in to Mondays with a new unit which brings a new calendar, new lessons, and in Algebra 1, the catapult project.  DONE!  My geometry class is new to me and I am teaching transformations on Monday and that is DONE!  Boom!

There are two reasons I am still thinking about school on this Saturday night - one I had to get all my class VNPS pictures off my phone to get more room for pictures, so I had to blog along with them.  DONE!  Here are my new geometry blog posts:

Law of Sines
Law of Cosines and bearings
Formative assessment

The other reason is to blog on the 18th.

So, school stuff is good to go and after I type this I will stop thinking about school stuff and recharge - much needed!

My family stuff - I felt like I was nesting when I was getting ready to have each of my babies.  My laundry is done.  I made a huge think of white chicken chili for dinner tonight so they could have some leftovers.  I do my grocery shopping once each week, taking inventory of what I have and what I need and planning dinners for each night.  But, NOPE, not this week!  I am NOT making a grocery list and NOT going grocery shopping.  All 5 of my guys are perfectly capable to doing it, so I am letting them.  It is a rare week about of the last 26 years that I am not grocery shopping!

And, my trip stuff.  I checked in online.  My bag is packed.  I am not leaving until 11 am tomorrow, so I have some more time to pull some stuff together.  My most important things are my books.  Here is my plan.  I am reading Allegedly for our YA adult book club I have on Feb 25th.  It is about a young teen girl who lives in a group home for allegedly killing her baby sister.  Not the light, fluffy, pool/beach book I was looking for.  I am hoping I can make some progress in the morning and on the plane.  Then, I will read the other three.

The week - my parents live in a great neighborhood and my dad is the association's president.  He calls Bingo on Wednesday, so we will go to that.  They live near Siesta Keys beach, so we will go there.  My dad wants to take us to the Riverwalk and to see the manatees.  After that, it is all beach and pool and reading and relaxing!

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Teaching Geometry - Vectors #VNPS

We started our second part of the unit with Vectors.  This time I started with a few notes in the PPT and direct teaching.  I wanted to define it and give them the notation before getting to the board.

Of course with Vectors, I HAD to share Airplane's Vector Victor and Despicable Me's Vector Victor.  There was 1 student in each class who guessed Airplane.  Most haven't seen it.  Most of the kids knew Despicable Me.

Vectors Lesson PPT
Vectors Lesson Board Problems

We started at the board with the notation and drawing.

I asked them to find the magnitude.  Some did the distance formula and some did Pythagorean Theorem.


Next: I asked them to write, then draw vector h, given the following coordinates.

I asked them to think about how they would add these two vectors.  Most kids did not know.  Some connected tip to tip in an upward vector.  A couple of groups did the algebra first. Note: I didn't tell them anything about adding.  The groups that added the components, I then asked them to draw this new vector.  One group had a number answer.  I told them a vector plus a vector would be a new vector, not a number.  Once, the couple of groups turned to algebra, the other groups followed, so they call got the new vector drawn but still couldn't see it visually.  They couldn't see where it came from, so I drew in both the triangle picture and the parallelogram method.

New vector:

I called attention to one board and drew it in blue:

Then, I gave them two vectors, asked them to draw the first only and how did they think subtraction might work.  They turned to algebra first and then drew it in.  I asked them to find the bearing to this.  They struggled with seeing the right triangle because it was too long and skinny (1x18). Finally, they got it.

We returned to our desks to get the vocab word: Resultant vector and to draw in the triangle and parallelogram methods. 

Teaching Geometry - Check in quiz

In this unit, first time with me teaching it, I felt like we were doing so much, so fast.  I didn't know what the students were actually digesting and processing.  I felt it was time to check in. I told the students the day before that they were going to take a mini - quiz.  They were to get 20 minutes.  I ended up giving them 25 minutes.  It was on Geometric Mean, Pythagorean Theorem, Special Right Triangles, and Right Triangle trig - so ALL right triangle stuff - Law of Sines and Cosines would not be on it.

The quiz was formative - would be collected, corrected, but not graded.  Here is the quiz.

The quiz did not go so well.  I decided to ask the students to identify what type of problem each one was.  They really struggled with that.  And, they used the Law of Sines.  They love it and they are good at it, but I stressed it is for non-right triangles.  I told them on the real quiz I would take one point off if they used Law of Sines and did Sine of 90.  They are showing me that they don't understand when to use right triangle trig.

Results: Geo mean doing Pythagorean:

Results: Thinking Right Triangle Trig is special right triangles but then doing Law of Sines.

Results: Not wrong, but I always want them to answer as simplified square root, exact answers, plus not using Geometric Mean to solve:

Results:  This student knew it was special right triangle but then used right triangle trig.

Teaching Geometry - Law of Cosines #VNPS

Next up was Law of Cosines.  I decided we did a lot of discovering lately and from teaching Law of Cosines in Algebra 2, I know they really struggle with the calculator buttons.  So, I gave them the Law of Cosines.  I asked them to write it down on the board and then to write down things they notice:

I gave them an example with side, side, side and asked them to find the largest angle first.  I asked them to undo all the algebra first and write it on the board, only picking up the calculator at the last step.

This was one mistake, finishing as the cosC is 81.4 instead of just m<C is 81.4.  We talked about that.  They keep telling themselves, when you don't have the angle, you have to use the inverse button.

Then, this student continued with the same problem and wanted to switch over the Law of Sines to finish.

I followed this with a side, angle, side example.

Law of Cosines Lesson PPT
Law of Cosines Lesson Board Problems

We did not do the bearings at the board.  I had them come back to their desks and notes and directly taught it.

Teaching Geometry - Law of Sines #VNPS

I am sharing this after we have finished the unit.  I need to get the pictures off my phone to make way for vacation pictures!

I taught 1 day of Law of Sines with the ambiguous case.
Next day, Law of Cosines and bearings.
Following day did a mini quiz on Geo Mean, Pythag, Special Rt Triangles, and Right Triangle Trig - just to check in.  Used it as a formative assessment.  Then, practiced some applications of Law of Sines and Cosines.

Law of Sines lends itself well to working at the whiteboards to discover it using right triangle trig.

I gave them this triangle because I didn't want to take the time to describe it in order to draw it correctly:  Board Triangle

Then, I asked them to write the sine of A, resolve for h.
Write the sine of B, resolve for h.
Oh, they both equal h, so set them equal to each other.
Then, rearrange so like variables are on the same side.  Voila, Law of Sines:

Next, added the ratio for C and tried a problem.  These students are really good at solving proportions, so it went smoothly.

We also discovered the Area of a Triangle formula using sin and practiced with that.

Law of Sines Lesson PPT
Law of Sines Board Problems

Friday, February 16, 2018

Binder Clip Zipline in class

Day before February vacation....We did the Binder Clip Zipline in class.  I told my students I wasn't sure how it was going to go - too hard, too easy, too short, or too long, but it was just right.  I wouldn't say it was super thrilling, but they were measuring and making adjustments.  It was interesting to watch the groups work.  Some placed the desk first, some moved the height of the magnet.  One group made theirs have 30,60, 90 angles and another went with 45,45,90.  I called the winner the one that calculated their angle last.  They knew what their height and desk distance were to be and their angle ended up being the safest.  They even added a board eraser at the end for clip safety.

Objective: Make a safe and fun zipline ride for the binder clip.

Here are some pictures:

The prep:

An artist's rendering:



Next: Eraser for safety. (Look at all those math tools)