Thursday, February 21, 2013

A night off?!?

Night off

This is the first evening all year when I haven't had grading or other work to do. On top of that, my room mate is away for a job interview in Wisconsin (good luck Melissa!). So I'm home alone with pretty much nothing to do but blog about how glorious this night is. So glorious. 

Quiz tomorrow

Tomorrow we're giving our first assessment for the quadrilaterals unit. I'm not totally in love with the assessment but it'll get the job done. I think some of my students will even do reasonably well on it. Actually, given data from past years (last year I witnessed it and the other geometry teachers have seen it year after year), this will probably be the lowest performance on any assessment we have given or will give this year. The unit, Properties of Quadrilaterals, requires students to memorize a lot of information about quadrilaterals. They just aren't interested in memorizing information. I have been telling them to study from their notes. I've given them pointers on how to study and what, specifically to study. You know what I haven't done, though? I haven't ever had them actually study in class. As I think about it, I bet nearly none of my students actually know how to study. And this would have been an awesome unit to teach then those skills. Maybe next time? 

Maybe tomorrow. The quizzes take about half the period. The curriculum that we're using says we're supposed to finish a matching activity in which students match properties of quadrilaterals with their names, shapes, and area formulae (I'd share the whole activity here except I didn't create it and I think it would be inappropriate to post on the internet someone else's work without their permission). But maybe I'll spend the first half of the period leading the students in a study session. What do you think? 


  1. Hello, Kevin,

    I stumbled across your blog on Google, and as a fellow mathematics educator I thought you might be interested in learning about an educational TV show about math that we're putting together. "The Number Hunter" is going to do for math education what Bill Nye The Science Guy did for science education. I’d really appreciate your help in getting the word out about the project.
    I studied math education at Jacksonville University and the University of Florida. It became clear to me during my studies why we’re failing at teaching kids math. We're teaching it all wrong! Bill Nye taught kids that science is FUN. He showed them the EXPLOSIONS first and then the kids went to school to learn WHY things exploded. Kids learn about dinosaurs and amoeba and weird ocean life to make them go “wow”. But what about math? You probably remember the dreaded worksheets. Ugh.
    As a fellow math educator, I’m sure you know math is much more exciting than people think. Fractal Geometry was used to create “Star Wars” backdrops, binary code was invented in Africa, The Great Pyramids and The Mona Lisa, wouldn’t exist without geometry.
    Our concept is to create an exciting, web-based TV show that’s both fun and educational.
    If you could consider posting about the project on your blog, I’d very much appreciate it. If you have any questions, please let me know.
    Thanks in advance for your help,

  2. Quadrilaterals is a unit my students excel in. We do several hands on activities and a graphic organizer. See my site. One thing we do is make "Walls" these must be rectangles. So the students must use properties to build support. The diagonals must be congruent and bisected. We also build kites and rhombus kites. We see the perpendicular diagonals. We have done a great deal of work ahead of this unit on supplementary angles in parallel lines and parallelograms. We use curriculum. I supplant many of the "investigations" with more hands on. Do you have any ideas for circles?

    1. We formed our curriculum from the CPM curriculum. We follow the sequence that they recommend but do very few of the actual investigations with the students. We just don't have the time to cover the investigations in the book and quiz the students three times in every unit. I say we but really, being the new guy, very little of my input goes into what we teach every day. I wish I had a little more freedom. It would be more work for me but that work would be more fulfilling than just following the protocol laid out for me.

      As far as circles goes, I always like the derivation of the area and circumference of a circle from finding the area and perimeter of an infinite sided polygon that CPM does. I'd modify it so that students are looking at polygons with radii other then just one, though. That way they could build a matrix of area & circumferences for polygons with different side lengths and different radii. I wasn't able to do that with my students because it would take 2-3 days on our 7-period schedule to do it justice. We just don't have that kind of time.


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