What She Wore: red, short-sleeve, v-neck tee with cap sleeves; blue jean shorts; red flip flops. Shorts on a pregnant lady? I looked like freakin’ Daisy Mae, but we were barbequeing and I was too hot to have any pride.
Today’s topic may be a bit too technical for some people–I’d like to apologize in advance for that. Even if you don’t get the math concepts I discuss, hopefully the point of the story is still there.
Once the big tests are gone, we slow down the year, and begin teaching the kids some things that we know they’ll need in eighth grade. We take advantage of the fact that we’ve got a lot of time to cover something, and the big test is a year away.
Usually, we devote this time to teaching slope of a line. Here, in seventh grade, we’re leading them towards some unknown territory.
First, we remind them how to graph points on a coordinate grid.
Then we talk about what the slope of the line looks like–without numbers.
Then we start counting rise/run between two points.
FINALLY, after almost two week of this, we’ll teach them the formula for slope.
Unless you’re a technical person, I think this formula looks pretty intimidating. For seventh graders, it looks like Greek.
I had a new idea this week, though. While the students were counting rise/run I taught one student the formula–only I didn’t call it a formula–I called it a "trick." He looked at me in amazement and said, "does it work every time?" Without realizing it, he was doing higher level math than his peers. Soon kids were whispering about the trick, and I showed a few more, but I was careful not to show everyone. I told the other teacher in the room, and he wanted to go ahead and show them early, but I said "no." I wanted it to keep its mystique.
Pretty soon all the kids had heard about the "trick" and were eager to learn it. Viola! Teaching the icky formula was a breeze because they all wanted to know it.
I call it buzz teaching.
I hope everyone’s weekend was as wonderful as mine.