Have no fear, because this is when the fun happened. Immediately, I went out to my support group and asked for help:
Feel free to take all of these:
[side note: this can be changed to apply to cell phone towers, water distribution, or something else that would be more relevant in not-so-earthquaky regions]
- Start off with the hook of the La Habra Earthquake, a 5.1 that everyone in the classroom felt on that dreadful Friday evening in Southern California
- Plot a theoretical USGS and have the students find the epicenter in reference to the USGS
- Using the map that represents the zones of seismic activity, create circles to show each zone's radius and center
- Oh yeah, and Desmos all day, every day
- From this information, have students come to the conclusion of (h,k) being the center and r being the radius
- Also, have students come to the conclusion that manipulating h, k, and r is a whole lot like the Pythagorean Theorem and the Distance Formula
- Have them leave class feeling awesome
So now, the reality. Coming into a brand new class when school is on the back slide of being done for the year is no easy feat. Fortunately, I wasn't a sub, as the classroom teacher was there to introduce me and what I was hoping to do. Also, I gave them a nice treat to chew on right away:
"Alright class, how many of you have smart phones?"
-- whoosh of hands fly up --
"Get them out. They're going to get put to work"
-- shock, awe, astonishment
We went through the lesson and it really helped to have the regular teacher there as a supporter. He was able to go around and assist students with the technology and, more importantly, help the students he knew would have a tough time with wrapping their heads around the math that was involved. Kids were using their cell phones to manipulate the sliders on their Desmos graphs and it. was. awesome.
What I would change...
- Less humor, more visuals. These kids didn't know me, so they were playing school. They sat nicely and listened. This is NOT the group that I'm used to. With that in mind, I'll remember that I don't have the same easy-going relationship and get right into some visuals that would support the lesson directly
- Go through a basic overview of Desmos. Most of the students had seen it before, but Desmos truly is a sight to behold. There are so many things that it can do and I tend to take it for granted. Next time, I'll start with a scaled down version and go over each component of the lesson
- Plan it for a two day lesson. This would allow students to play around with the math a lot more and do more of the discovering on their own time. I ended up staying for the next period and watching the regular classroom teacher rock the lesson and he didn't rush through anything to get it done. He let the kids explore, even though it was taking time. This is a great piece to remember
Overall, I'd chalk it up as a successful day back in the classroom (with some definite adjustments to make for next time). If you'd like to steal any component of the lesson, please do.
I know you. I know your style. You have ideas to improve the lesson. Feel free to comment below with what you would have done to make it better. Seriously, thank you.
Happy "Not So Shaky" Fishing