Friday, September 16, 2011

Connect the dots

I am introducing my 7th-graders to graphing points, in anticipation of the upcoming discussions about algebraic/graphical linearity and similarity ratios.

To this end, I went ahead and enhanced an assignment I have already used in the past. They're going to do Connect the Dots individually on one picture I've designed, and then make big posters in groups on other designs while still practicing plotting points! (I'm very excited about this. I need some wall decorations very soon, and I think these posters are going to be perfect.)

I've come up with three designs besides the original individual one. The kids are not going to be told what the designs are until they graph them out. The feedback for me (and for them) is instantaneous, because I can visually see when their picture doesn't look quite right. We haven't done this yet, but I think doing it on the gridded chart paper has an added benefit of forcing them to use scales bigger than 1 (since there are fewer grids on the big paper) -- which will in turn force them to consider how to graph points that are not neatly on or halfway between two labels on the axis. Go approximation!

Doing it on big poster also will have other benefits, methinks: 1. encouraging group work (they will be encouraged to divide up the points to work in parallel), 2. extra neatness (using pencils to plot points and rulers to outline before outlining with markers).

Here are the files, in case you want to adopt this activity: Design #1 (individual work, in notebook) and #2 (group work/poster) and Design #3 and #4 (group work/poster).

I'm pretty excited. I'll even take pictures this time of their final products!!

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