I gave a quiz this past week. Some students did quite well but others struggled with some of the concepts. I wanted an activity that gave more practice of the skills students were missing but was self-checking. Students have been asking for another pixel-art activity so I decided to combine the two.
This week in the United States is Groundhog Day. You can click here and read about the history of Groundhog Day. It’s very interesting! One of my colleagues and friend grew up in Punxsutawney Pennsylvania, home of the official Groundhog. When we are NOT in a pandemic, she makes groundhog shaped sugar cookies for all her students and the other math teachers. I know this year she is sad because she won’t be able to share this tradition. To honor her hometown, I made this pixel art activity as a groundhog :-). This one is for you Danyelle.
You may take this one and alter it. You may also create your own with this tutorial I created.
I also wanted to share a couple of Desmos activities I found and used during this unit. Both are by Kurt Salisbury.
The Zelda activity is one I’ve used before and I really like it. It practices Pythagorean Theorem.
The second one I found just this year and it is AH-Mazing!!! I will be this good at Desmos CL one day and will make fun things like this! This is one is an intro to Trig with some terrific animations. It really allowed my students to think an explore.
What are number talks you ask? They are a wonderful low floor, high ceiling task that allows everyone the opportunity to share their thinking. Here is a Wakelet of resources I have compiled from the interwebs. I use Fawn Nguyen’s Visual Patterns a lot! A great book I recommend reading is Making Number Talks Matter by Cathy Humphreys and Ruth Parker. I’m sure there are others, but this is the one I read. There are many videos, blog posts, and ideas if you just google Number Talks. I like that Number Talks strengthen numeracy and allows students to see that everyone approaches problems differently, which is the wonderful thing about math. Many students, because of how they have been taught, think there is only ONE way to complete a problem.
As I mention in my book, Make Math Not Suck, I want my classroom to be a safe space. Because of this, I like to keep responses like this anonymous, allowing students to share if they feel comfortable. I started trying to do number talks in PearDeck using the drawing feature. The problem I ran into was wanting students to be able to draw OR write to explain their thinking.
Enter Desmos. With Desmos, you can give students the option to type or write. And when you are working with patterns, they can draw right on the pattern.
We move to hybrid learning this week. Half of my class will be in person and half will be joining by Zoom. I think Desmos is going to work well for our Number Talks in this situation. I can still select student responses to share on the screen that both in home and in person students can view.
If you aren’t using Number Talks, do a little investigating. I think you will find it gives students confidence, it allows you to see gaps in their number sense, and it helps students learn new strategies.
Key features of parabolas are important to understand the why behind quadratic graphs. It seems intuitive, and it is provided an image, but often the situation is represented as a graph with only words to guide students. My students can graph them but seem to struggle with where things are on the graph. We approached quadratics much differently this year, using only Desmos and graphing calculators to graph. We started with an idea from a colleague at another high school in my district. She uses fly swatters on day one to review key features of a parabola. This is not in the context of a situation but a good place to start. Student LOVED this activity.
This is played relay style (picture was taken on pajama day for homecoming, hence the jammies) and students run up and smack the parabola on the key feature selected.
I also gave an exit ticket in Desmos activity builder to see where we still needed to remediate. I really liked this one because it was open-ended. They moved the parabola around to meet each requirement.
I’ve included the link to the Desmos activity if you would like to use it as well.
Lastly, we worked with real situations. I gave them an Angry Birds picture and had them label, with their elbow partner, initial height, maximum height, time to max height, and time to the ground. It went pretty well and they got everything but initial height, which led to great discussions.
Our last activity was giving them a situation with an equation, they graphed it in Desmos and used their graph to make #mathsnaps. Bitmoji has updated so it wasn’t as easy to use since the beginning of the year (sad face). Students must now create an account on their app (iOS or Android) then link that to the Chrome extension. For students who didn’t have access to the app, I provided a link to clipart and emojis they could use. Here are a few of the math snaps I received this year.
This is without feedback so some of the information isn’t correct. We’ll be conferencing about it soon.
We learn from mistakes and some of mine will have some learning opportunities. YES!