Sunday, August 22, 2010

Day 4

Yep, three for three. I over-planned again for Friday. I got closer to timing it right, but was still rushed at the end. I'm hoping that if my progress over the last three days is linear, then by about Thursday of next week I'll have nailed it.

We did an opener (pdf) and the students seem to be getting that down pretty well. For our lesson (pdf), we did a capture-recapture simulation. First I showed an edited version of a Discovery Education Streaming video (if you have Discovery, it's the one titled Estimating and Proportions: Counting Sheep). I edited it because I wanted to emphasize how they setup the proportions, and I wanted to step through how to solve them with the students, so I added a couple of still shots in the middle, and also cut out some for length.

The capture-recapture simulation was pretty standard. I gave them paper bags with an unknown quantity of red beans in them and a baggie of white beans. They then reached in and pulled out a handful of red beans, removed them, and replaced them with an equal number of white beans. We then took samples and tried to predict how many beans. It seemed to go okay, but their predictions were all over the place (despite having a similar number of beans in each bag) and it was hard to tell if they completely understood what we did. I'm not sure if I didn't explain things well enough/we didn't talk about it enough, or if it's just too early in the morning and they got it fine, they just don't express it at that time of day.

You can see their homework over on the blog (as well as a couple of photos). They have an online pre-assessment to begin preparing for an assessment over proportions and percents next Wednesday, they need to submit their expectations for the class via a Google Form, and they need to watch The Math of Rock Climbing video (more on why we're watching that next week).

On Saturday I also emailed each student (to their new Google Apps account, although they may not be checking it regularly yet) to see if they had any questions about the class, and also to encourage them to get caught up if they were missing any of the homework assignments. I also urged them to re-assess over the Math Skills Assessment if they needed to - that's proving to be a tough sell so far (not unexpected given that most of them are freshmen and still getting used to the idea that they're supposed to come in on their unscheduled hours, but still frustrating).

So, overall the week was okay, but not stellar. I'm hopeful that I'll improve my planning so that the timing works out better, and that the students and I will continue to get to know each other better which should help facilitate the learning. We'll see.


  1. I am not a math teacher but I look forward to reading your blog posts and today, I shared this blog with other staff members at my school. The 'great expectations' Google form is a great idea as well. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Learning Curves - Thanks, glad you're finding it helpful. Would love feedback from you and/or your staff.