Friday, January 22, 2010

A Little Friday Miracle

I have been teaching kids how to calculate the distance between two points for what probably sums up to be a couple of weeks now. I've tried going at it the intuitive way (Pythagorean Theorem) and the formulaic way (Distance Formula), but the kids that weren't getting it, still weren't getting it. Fiiiiinally, through a combination of coordinate proofs and coordinate projects (steeped in real-world application), my lowest-performing kids now "get" how to calculate distances.

It's amazing. Thank goodness for little Friday miracles.

Addendum July 2, 2010: Here is a project that worked well to give the kids some practice of calculating angles and distances. Feel free to use it! I also prefaced the lesson with a little bit of discussion about sailing, and why sailboats often zig-zag across the lake. The kids found the idea that sailboats can travel against-wind very interesting!


In other news, I found out today that I will probably not be teaching Algebra 2H next year, due to the fact that our school is experimenting with the idea of letting one teacher (Mr. C) take his cohort of honors kids for 4 years, all the way through AP Calculus. It's probably for the best, because I want to expand my teaching horizons past the comforts of Algebra 2 anyway. (Even though, to be sure, Algebra is my love.) I cannot tell you right now what I might be teaching instead, because none of it is official until it happens. But, I suspect that I will be pretty happy with the resolution, as long as I end up with fewer than 3 preps*. (A big IF, I suppose.)

Keeping those fingers crossed.

*For you non-teachers: "Preps" are the types of classes that you need to prepare for. For instance, right now I teach regular Geometry and Alg2H, so that's 2 preps. Your number of preps is inversely related to your sanity as a teacher.

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