Thursday, September 12, 2013

Taco Carts, Marshmallows, Venn Diagram Elephants, and Name Tags

Not necessarily in that order.

It is Thursday and it has been a great week.  I thought I would share.

First, we did whiteboarding with Dan Meyer's 3 Act Taco Cart.  I loved it.  I did it in my Accelerated Algebra I class.  I didn't have to tell them the Pythagorean Theorem.  I didn't have to tell them to divide by the rate.  They figured it out.  It had a great entry point and the kids were hooked.  They made their guesses and went to work.  Here is one board. You can see their guess of "Dan" in the middle and the 4 students' work:
 In my Accelerated Algebra 2 class, rather than just review the different types of numbers, we used the whiteboards to make a Venn Diagram.  This one isn't quite right, but hey, we learned from our mistakes.  The "I" for irrational numbers turned into a squiggly little animal and then the group "saw" and elephant and went for it.  We did R for Real Numbers, Q for rational, I for irrational, Z for integers, W for Whole and N for Natural numbers.  It was a great discussion.  Some didn't know the difference between natural and whole.  Some didn't know what an integer was (insert gasp).  Some asked what they were if they weren't real numbers, ahhhhh, coming soon to a math room near you. 

I used the name tags with noticing and wondering statements.  From this blog:  Name tags  We folded a paper in half the hot dog way, wrote their name on one side and other side was divided into three days on which to write "I notice...." and "I wonder...."  It went so wonderfully, beyond my expectations.  First, voila, I have a name tag.  I wasn't even considering those benefits to the first week of school, duh!  And, second, it really got the kids noticing and wondering.  They really struggled with it at first.  I am glad I did it for three days because they did get better.  Some things they wrote:

"I notice this room is really hot.  I wonder if it will always be this hot."  Me - No, in the winter, we will be wearing scarves and mittens.
"I notice a large tv.  I wonder what it is for."  Me - Back in the old days, we would hook a vcr up to it, then teachers got computers, and we might be savy enough to hook our computers up to it, but now we have computers and projectors so we don't need the tvs.  They used to project the students making announcements too but we don't do that anymore either.
"I notice catapults in the room.  I wonder if we will use them."  Me - Yes, we will be launching M&Ms soon.
"I notice lots of inspirational posters around the room."  Me - Thank you for noticing.  I love being surrounded by them.

And, finally, the Great Marshmallow Challenge.  I did this with my group of 8 seniors in Futures Math Class.  (They are pulled out from a regular class scenario.)  They did awesome.  We had 2 groups of four.  One group went really tall and it bent over right away.  The other group tested it midway and got it to work.  Then, doubled it in height and it started to bend, so they squished it down some and voila.  
There were some leaders, some frustration, some competitiveness, lots of conversation and smiles and laughs and work!
We watched the TED talk after and had a conversations.
Here are some pictures.

What a great week.  And, tomorrow is Friday, which brings along Barbie Bungee!!!!!!
Thanks to the mathtwitterblogosphere!

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