We have spent our time this past few weeks turning an interest in patterns into an interest in modeling. Each day we have done activities to get the students to think about number sense, and also about relationships and functions. Next we will focus on linear and quadratics simultaneously and look at both as examples of functions that we can use to describe how things grow and change. Teaching the two functions simultaneously will hopefully strengthen kids’ understanding of what functions are and what they could be more so than focusing immediately and solely on linear.
I taught my class twice, as per usual. The way our school is scheduled, we only see kids on Tuesdays-Thursday classes for 90 minutes each. The class has only met on 6 occasions (and one of those was taught by a sub who wasn’t given my subplans). At times it feels like we should be further along, but I want to remember to be patient.
Tuesday we looked at the penny circle on Desmos. We also opened up class with three visual patterns, one linear, one quadratic, and one exponential followed by a Contemplate then Calculate activity from math.newvisions.org. This helped going into the penny circle because they were familiar with the types of equations, and also with counting things. The best part about Desmos activities are that it let’s the students work independently on tasks, and learn from each other. It is certainly because of these benefits that the universe conjured up a perfect storm of misplaced computer cart key and a soft lockdown drill kept me from actually using computers with my kids, and I ended up having a few kids walk through it with the smart board. Luckily I made a worksheet so I could see what kids are thinking about the activity, and the kids could still engage in this whole-class format. The students were able to see how the different equations look on a coordinate graph.
Following the activity we did an Interpreting Distance Time Graphs from the Shell Centre, which we did not have time to finish.
On Thursday we started with a visual pattern that worked out pretty well. This was the 5th one of these that I have done, but it was the first time I asked for symbolic equations for the patterns. I was surprised that students didn’t offer some kind of equation earlier, but I still wanted to wait until this point because we could start working with equations soon. To formally begin working with equations we looked at a modified version of Tina’s quilt squares, which has been a staple of my introduction to quadratics for years. Kids then worked on finding the number of grey squares and the number of white squares and eventually we had time to talk about the equations.