Sunday, August 18, 2013

Once Again, Day One

We start classes tomorrow. No, I'm not ready yet. I've been learning how to use our online site, which comes from "Desire 2 Learn." (I hate that name. I feel like I'm spouting propaganda every time I say it. I'll be calling it d2l, and mentioning the problem of the name in each class. Gag.) I want students to be able to see material early, get copies of material when they miss class or lose their copies, etc. I'm having trouble uploading one particular file, and can't figure it out. Sigh.

I'll be teaching two sections of pre-calculus, one of calculus, and one of linear algebra. In each of my classes, I'll move the desks into groups of four, and hand out the syllabus and a sheet summarizing unit one and listing the homework. I'll also pass around a phone list for them to put their name and info on, which I'll copy and hand out the next day. And they will put their name on a 3x5 card, which I'll use to call on people randomly. Here are my planned day one activities for each class:


We'll be using (Thank you, Andrew Stadel.)
Our first problem: Breaths in a day (my guess: 8000, google, 17,000 to 28,000) I was 9000 off, 9000/17000 = 53% low

Visual Patterns
We'll be using (Thank you, Fawn Nguyen.)
Our first problems: #2 (easier) and #1, pretty hard

Equations for Graphs
We'll be using Daily Desmos. (Thank you, Team Desmos and all the contributors.)
Our first problem: 110a2 (use two eqns, or challenge yourself to find just one)

Graphing Stories
We'll be using and what I downloaded from Dan Meyer's blog. (Thank you, Dan Meyer.)

I have had endless trouble with the projection systems in my classrooms, so I plan to test it all out in both of them today. I plan to do one of these activities (or a quiz) with my students each day at the start of class. I think this will fill my hour up quite nicely.

Linear Algebra

Calculus (starts Tuesday evening)

On Screen:
Screen 1: What is the meaning of acceleration? (Write what you think it is on your paper.)
Screen 2: A rock is thrown upward. It reaches 11 feet, and falls back down.
What is the acceleration of the rock at the instant it reaches the very top of its motion?
Think about it on your own, without discussing it yet. We’ll vote, then discuss, then vote again.
Screen 3: A rock is thrown upward. It reaches 11 feet, and falls back down.
What is the acceleration of the rock at the instant it reaches the very top of its motion?
A. up B. down C. none D. not enough information

I don't want to bother with clickers, so I need to stop by the copy shop to get my vote cards made up. (I got this idea from Kate. Mine will be a bit different. I'll post more if it works out, and maybe even if it doesn't. Kate has a good calculus question at that post.)

Tangent Task
For the past two semesters, on day one, I had students carefully graph y=x2, and then show a line tangent to the graph at x=2. After that they were supposed to estimate the slope of the tangent line. It worked great in the fall. But in the spring, a bunch of them knew the derivative 'rule' and that destroyed the activity. I'm going to use a circle and a few graphs I've drawn this time, so they can't use 'rules'.

This class meets for 2 1/2 hours, so I'll have lots more planned, but I get to work on that tomorrow and Tuesday.

On the first day or two I also:
  • Explain how Donut Points work (Every time someone in class catches me in a math mistake, that's a donut point. When the class has gotten 30 donut points, I bring in donuts.);
  • Talk about the difference between what people think math is and what it really is;
  • Talk about mindsets, stereotype threat, and how neurons grow when we learn new things  (I like talking about myelin growth);
  • Explain how to get cheap textbooks (online, used, I allow older editions);
  • Explain that I will stamp homework each day;
  • On day one I ask them to find interesting things on the syllabus, on day two I ask them to share, giving me the opportunity to explain test retakes.

You may find other helpful ideas at my previous Day One posts, here, here, and here.

1 comment:

  1. Everytime I hear about polling a group with a multiple-choice question, I want to ask something like:
    Q: What percentage will give the same response as you?
    A) >90%
    B) >50%, but <= 90%
    C) >25%, but <= 50%
    D) <= 25%

    but I am a bad person... ;)


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