Monday, July 6, 2015

Week 23 - First Time Using Mathalicious

A couple of weeks ago I blogged about my experiences at the 2015 OMCA Conference in Niagara Falls, ON. I wanted to try using it as soon as possible (as they say, if you do not use the new thing right away you probably never will). We were starting off the Grade 10s (after doing a bunch of numeracy review) with Quadratic Relations (not my first choice, but I went with it) so I chose their Wiibates lesson to hope that it would be something engaging as I was planning to use it to introduce the topic (no lessons done in advance at all). My hope was that by starting off with an application it would show the students why they should bother to learn about quadratic relations.

Being the first time trying to do something that was going to be very new to me, and new to my students, I knew that I was going to run into some here they are:

- I had planned on about 1.5 periods to compete the task and it ended up taking 2+ periods

- All of my students had basically forgotten how to find the equation of a line (seemed to have a weak grasp of slope in terms of its equation although many found it in the context of the question) - this is why I would prefer to start the course with Linear Systems - which is greatly what contributed to the added time needed to complete the task.

- Students were not very engaged by the end of the task, though it started out decently (of course those who actually play video games were the most interested).

These snafus got me to wondering how our Grade 9s are being taught slope? why so easily forgettable? My instinct is that this should be something they remember well because it seems like the Gr 9 curriculum puts a lot of focus on the equation of a line and linear relations in general. I did not find this easy to reflect on as I have only taught MFM 1P once (and it was only 60% of the course as I started at the end of October) and this was 5 years ago. But this is something I would greatly consider when I do finally get to teach MPM 1D.

I definitely plan to try other Mathalicious stories during the semester. The overall concept is still well worth the time and it can only get better with more failure :)

I did ask the class what they thought overall afterward (using thumbs down/sideways/up) and most of them gave it thumbs sideways. At lunch I asked a couple of them for their honest opinions and the consensus was more or less that the lengthy time it took to complete was what made it into a less than ideal experience. They were willing to try something similar later on.

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