I have a couple white whales with my teaching. One was white boarding, and I think there might be a solution there. Second is inquiry. Last year I had this big lofty goal of throwing WCYDWT at the kids like gangbusters. I think I did it once. It was good, but it was just once. My biggest problem with WCYDWT and 3ACTS is that the examples I've seen do prompt wonderful questions, but don't really help me conduct a lesson on the transformation of a sine function. However, a small glimmer of hope has sprouted.

First idea:


A long standing joke in my class is that as far as the kids (and you, honestly) know, that's my house. I teach for the laughs. My thinking with this scenario is that I'd ask for suggestions for a new flooring material. Send them poking around the Home Depot, Lowe's and IKEA websites (I want that plebe look, you know) for flooring materials. Flooring materials are quoted in $/sq. ft which begs the question, what's this renovation going to cost me? I doodle a diagram of the room, throw some x's and y's into the dimensions, develop expressions for perimeter (gots to have some trim, dawg), discuss how we could determine the area and go from there. If time I could find that picture of the people coating their floor in pennies or the $1 bill wall paper. A rare Geometry win for an Algebra II classroom. This lesson would happen in the second or third day. What scares me is firing a big gun like this early, puts the pressure on to keep this sort of thing up.

Second idea:

Ever stared at a gas pump when you're filling up? Ever catch yourself watching the gallon readout to see that it's the proper multiple of the fuel price? Or just stare at the numbers fluttering buy and then freaking out at the total? (This economy, am I right!? Ha HA!) Anyway, to me that's a beautiful intro to linear models. Questions like "how fast is the price going up?" "how do we know that?" "Can I use this to predict the cost of gas for a larger car?" "what if I'm filling up my Ferrari with that premium juice?" "what if the attendant can't change a $100?"

After that idea clicked I felt like an idiot for missing it for so long. I've probably filled up 5 times since thinking it up and have yet to remember to take a video of the numbers doing their thing.

I know it's not much, but the way I work is an idea marinates in my head for a period of time and before you know it there's a bumper crop. I hope I have more of these revelations this year.

AuthorJonathan Claydon