Sunday, August 15, 2010

Lesson plans for Week #1

I am excited about Full Week #1! I'll probably write more about this later as the week unfolds, but basically, this week in Geometry I am going to finish up the metrics conversion/dimensional analysis stuff and go into some basics of Geometry. Here are some links (really good ones) that I dug up to help me plan those lessons. I'm posting them beforehand because if you are a Geometry teacher, it might be too late for you to wait for me to do the lessons and give a play-by-play review of how it went. (...PLUS, giving my own play-by-play analysis is awkward. Versus you can just read about where I'm finding inspiration -- much less awkward!)

So, here we go:
* As a basic review of some geometric terms they might already know from middle school, I'm giving kids a warmup that looks like this: a visual puzzle involving geometric vocabulary and recognition. It is surprisingly challenging! Took me a bit of energy to find those heptagons and octagons and whatnot. I envision it taking a good while if we want to have a good discussion about the results. (The rest of the period will be overflow/extra practice time for earlier content. I'm pretty sure the kids will need this extra time, since dimensional analysis problems are difficult.)

* The next day, we go into basic geometric postulates and naming conventions. I super-duper like Dan's take on why we name things the way we do, so I took that and adopted it to show a bit more vocabulary -- like collinear, coplanar, interior/exterior to an angle, and whatnot. The idea is for kids to look at something visual and to come up with a natural way of grouping/describing objects, and then all I need to do is introduce the math term associated with those concepts.

* Last year, I did an activity that I liked, which was giving two kids a string, and then giving two other kids another string. I have them intersect their strings and start to walk towards/away from each other, to see whether the number of intersection points ever changes. Obviously, it doesn't, and it helps to show in a physical way that two taut lines, if they don't overlap / aren't parallel, will always intersect at exactly one point. I'm going to re-do that demo this year, because the physical representation seemed to really help out last year.

* Lastly, I plan on wrapping up the week with some cool tangram activities adopted from this link: using tangrams to build shapes and to find their perimeters. As part of the lesson, kids will calculate (not measure!! They can measure at the end to verify if they want..) the angles and perimeters of each individual tangram piece, and also build tangram shapes (one assigned by me and one that they design individually) and find the perimeters.

I think that sounds pretty fun / productive for the first week, no? :) The following week, we will move into some more heavy-duty algebra stuff, and the kids will hopefully get a chance to get on the computers as well, to get acquainted with GeoGebra.


On the Precalculus end, I will spend the entire week on vectors. I decided that I am going to build it up piecewise and culminate with a mini-project on graphically constructing vectors, using ruler and protractor (lengths and reference angles) only. And then, we'll do some physics-like word problems as time allows. That's going to be pretty tough, for sure, but the physics teachers say that they need this level of understanding. So, here we go! I hope they are troopers and are already good at measuring with rulers and protractors! (...Fat chance.)

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