I began the aforementioned Linear Programming unit with a review of inequalities. Working with juniors and seniors not historically successful in math, I always find it difficult to predict the pacing of the material, trying to balance their recall of prior knowledge (oooh) with the fact that they may have never learned or understood it the first time it was taught. This dilemma is compounded by the fact that, math class being the last place they want to be, many of the students are reluctant (euphemism) to participate. So we spent 3 days ‘recalling’ how to graph inequalities on number lines and Cartesian planes, and then we looked at systems of inequalities on desmos.com. My effort to engage them feels palpable – to me, anyway. I wanted to get around the room to check in with individual pairs of students, but launching the activity took a lot of ‘direct instruction’ and we ran out of time in our lengthy 42 minute class. Hopefully they will do their homework, and I can assess how successful we were. One student messaged me asking for the website with the calculator, so I am hopeful.
At the other end of the motivational spectrum, the Math Club, responding enthusiastically to my suggestion, constructed a group icosahedron. We did it on the fly, with a quick lesson on the construction of equilateral triangles, and a lot of creativity. The final connectors were added while “We are the Champions” played. We are exploring ways to make a ‘life-size’ figure as a culminating activity for the year, although we are going to begin preparing for competition in the weeks to come.
Juxtaposed with all this effort to motivate my students at school, I am grappling with my own children’s motivation(s) to find internships, summer jobs, apply to art school. They (my kids) comply with my wishes and direction both more and less than my students at school. Hmmm…
It’s finally spring!