Wednesday, October 8, 2014

IMP Day 8 - Keeping it Going, POW presentations

Today was a little crazy. We started our classes with the Keeping It Going activity. It was unique in that it combines the problems we did in the beginning where we are given a sequence of terms and asked to identify the pattern and find the next 3 terms with the problems where you are given an In-Out table and are asked to write the rule. Then we are asked to create an equation that works for the nth term. The easiest way to do this (in my opinion) is to create a table where the input is the term number and the output is the term itself. I had told my algebra teaching buddies earlier this year that I needed "tutoring" on teaching sequences. I had never thought of creating a table in this way before in order to help students to write a rule for a sequence where the variable represents the term number.

Today I had one group from each class present their solution for The Broken Eggs POW. One of the groups did especially well. There were 4 students and 3 out of the 4 talked about the approaches they used to solve the problem. Every one of them mentioned a strategy that had not been mentioned in class discussions. We had brought out in class that the answer had to end in a 1 but one student took that a step further to say that you had to multiply 7 by a number ending with a 3 in order to generate a product ending in 1. Another student actually wrote down times tables for the numbers 2-7 so he could compare the products. A third student mentioned that he created a table to organize his thoughts. The 4th student gave the solution. He was pretty shy about it as he is just not as confident in his math ability as the other 3 are. I gave them a few minutes to talk about how they were going to present their POW and gave them the idea to talk about their different approaches. This was a good group because 3 of the students really did set out independently (in their own ways) to start finding the solution. Sometimes you have a group where 1 or 2 students have a little bit of an idea how to work toward an answer and the other 2 or 3 are just waiting for the "better math students" to figure it out. In my opinion this is one of the biggest challenges of letting the students work in groups. However, those struggling math students would probably not be finding their way to solutions by themselves. So often they don't even have the confidence to try.

I have not yet figured out how I am going to assign grades for their presentations. I would like for the students to have measurable goals but I have not yet figured out how I am going to assign grades. I did create a rubric for their Broken Eggs Write-Up (or rather I googled it and found one that I altered a little to fit my needs - gotta love Google AND the people who share their material!).