Friday, February 20, 2009

Quick Unit Summary & Curriculum-Framing Questions

The focus for my unit is relating slope and linear equations to real-world situations. Students will be able to calculate slope and interpret its' meaning, as well as use slope to create a linear equation. Throughout the unit, students will explore linear relationships, connecting these linear models to the real-world situations they represent.

Listed below are the curriculum-framing questions that will be utilized in the unit:

Essential Question: Is Algebra (math) more than numbers and graphs?

Unit Questions:
  • How can graphs and equations help me to make predictions and/or conclusions?
  • How can my understanding of slope and linear equations be useful in life?

Content Questions:

  • How do you calculate slope?
  • What does the slope of a line tell you?
  • What is the difference between positive and negative correlation?
  • What information do you need to write an equation of a line?
  • How do you graph a line, given the slope and the y-intercept?
  • How do you formulate an equation for a “best-fit” line?

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Intel Class

In reflecting on the first couple of weeks of the Intel Class, I have to admit that it is a bit different than what I spelled out in my mind for the class. But, I think that is a good thing.

I took a "break" from teaching for almost 5 years. So, when I walked in to the classroom in January of last year, things had certainly changed! I was handed all of this "equipment" and shown how to navigate all of the technology the district had to offer. Needless to say, this was a big change for someone who had been used to utilizing the overhead projector and the blackboard to teach math. And, I have to admit that I was a bit hesitant at first to jump-in and try some of this new stuff! As the year progressed, though, so did my comfort level with all of these new tools. And, it was my students who helped me learn a great deal about how to be comfortable with all the new gadgets. They weren't intimidated by them - they really taught me tons!

I say all for this reason . . .

I believe this class will help me to think about how I teach my kids. I know what we have to teach because that is laid out in the state standards. But, it is the consideration of HOW I teach these standards that can make a difference for the students.

Project-based learning is something that will be a work-in-progress for me. I have done a few projects here and there with my kids, but none that I have thought about in as much detail as we seem to be doing in the class. (By that I mean taking a long look at how meaningful a project is to the students' understanding of a particular concept(s).) I am enjoying the challenge of developing a unit that includes activities that really make the math "make sense".

I think the two most challenging concepts for me in the class so far have been looking at a concept/standard with the "end" in mind and framing the essential question. Because I like math, I can certainly get bogged down in the details. It is very easy for me to itemize and list specific skills, but thinking in more broad terms can sometimes be difficult for me. So, right now, I am looking forward to trying to overcome some of these hurdles . . .

And, I am sure the more I allow my kids to explore the "big picture", the more I will learn, too! I am sure they will teach me a few things in this process - just like they did when I returned to the classroom last year.

I guess we will just wait and see . . .