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Hard Parts Day 65

# Hard Parts Day 65

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08/03/2013

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Hard PartsDay 65Briefly:Period 1: They’re attempting a new sort of problem just as they’re celebrating (well, mostof them) the conquering of an old problem.Period 2: They’re working toward an understanding that there are reasonable and lessreasonable ways of finding approximate rules, and using those rules to make predictions.Period 3: They’re trying to develop an understanding of how changing parts of a basicequation change the graph.Period 5: They’re trying to solve quadratic trig equations.CS: They’re trying to get a bunch of skills having to do with Strings down.--I’m just leaving a pretty difficult few days with Period 1, and yesterday seemed better.(Though J and E are still pretty stuck, R and S were absent, so I still only have 70% of theclass on track. Blech.)What’s the lesson here? You need a little bit of hope to continue the slog. There needs to be confidence that you’re being guided somewhere towards truth and a payoff. Some kidshave the ability to slog through more confusion without a payoff, but everyone seeks that payoff. Make sure that these insights are being sprinkled along methodically.--Remind D that he owes me two minutes.Period 1: Today you’re practicing more of the stuff that you’re getting pretty good at(writing equations), while beginning to tackle a new sort of problem. The new sort of  problem is finding equations that satisfy two points.What makes this topic difficult?
If you don’t know what exactly a coordinate point is, then you’ll find thisconfounding.
o
So we need to check in on that. There needs to be a graphing problem thatwe talk about together.
What exactly is being sought? Often that’s difficult to explain, and it’s a bitdifficult to understand the constraints of this problem.
o
Frame it as the inverse of an old question – finding points that come froman equation. Can we go in the opposite direction?

There’s the desire for a nice, clean way to do this every time, but what do youwant us to do, just Guess? And then you want to tell us not to guess? What’sgoing on here?
o
There needs to be more clarity about what it is that we’re aiming for here.Do whatever it is that you think you need to do to solve the problem…Pause: I need to clarify my teaching assumptions.There’s a shortcut. Why not give kids the shortcut?Well, they wouldn’t remember it or its purpose. It’s hard to position something as ashortcut.“Yes, we would. I always remember things when they’re given in a clear series of steps.”Oh, yeah? Then why can’t you solve equations?Here’s the justification:
Being smart means not just knowing how to solve one particular problem, butfiguring out how to use the tools that you have.
You guys have the tools for solving this problem, you just don’t know it yet.
It takes time for your mind to organize itself, though, and the way that it does thatis by working out.
Doing something hard will force you to realize what exactly it is that you’relearning, …In short:
The coach will tell you the moves, and give you comments on your technique.
But to get good, you need to practice playing the game.
The game is answering questions that are different from anything you’ve ever seen before.
The only way to get good at that is by trying to answer questions that are differentfrom anything you’ve ever seen before.
Yeah, at the end of the day I’ll always give you feedback about what was goodand what wasn’t with what you were doing.Lesson Plan:1.Warm Upa.Practice with the stuff that they’re good at. b.I mean, except for the kids who aren’t good at that stuff yet.c.Let’s give a problem with some tricky numbers.2.Problem Statementa.You guys can go forwards, right? Equation
Points. b.What about the other way? Points
Equation?c.An easy example: (0, 0), (1, 5), (2, 10), (3, 15)d.A tougher example: (4, 13)e.A tougher example (4, 13), (9, 33)3.Practicea.One point problems

b.Two point problemsi.Gaplessii.Missing Stepsiii.Write a procedure4.Wrap Upa.Procedure? b.Reality Check Period 2: Today you’re going to learn how to make predictions when you’re not given a perfect set of data. Notes:
CME has a nice touch, having kids up the mathematical complexity by finding the balance point, which is a good exercise for finding the mean.
I like the dice problem from their Alg2 curriculum.
I also like the idea that we’d have a problem for which they wouldn’t have such astrong intuition.
There seem to be two components here: the idea that there are “good enough”rules, and how do you find them systematically.Hard Parts
Yesterday the kidoos weren’t into it. My take is that they didn’t see theconstraints of the problem, and so found the exercise sort of foolish.
The major skill needed in this lesson is finding the equation of a line, and thatcould remain a tripping point for people who are just getting the hang of thisthing.
My instructions for how to handle the dice experiment are a bit lousy. They needsome working. (Add up the numbers that you roll? Probably just show anexample.)Lesson Plan1.Warm Upa.Practice finding equations from lines b.How about one where they have to guessc.How about one that’s downward slopingd.Then, into the dice experiment2.Dice Experimenta.Roll 1 die. Record what you roll b.Roll 2 dice. Add up all the numbers that you roll. (e.g. if you roll a 5 and a6, record “11”)c.Roll 3 dice. Samed.Keep on going until you see a pattern.e.What do you predict the sum of all the faces will be if you rolled 47 dice?3.Another data set? (What data set???)