I had the good fortune of spending today working with Alex Overwijk and Sheri Walker. We are all teaching grade 10 applied math this semester and have been spiraling through the curriculum doing activities most days. Saying that this has been a great experience is an understatement. I have no doubt that my students have benefited from learning this way (even if they may not always realize it). I would not teach this course ever again in any kind of "traditional" way.
Today we spent time going over the summative prep activity, which Alex did last semester and blogged about here. We talked about how to make it work, fixed up some of the pictures and created a 6th theme. We also spent time looking at Graphing Stories, Daily Desmos, Mathalicious and other cool sites before working on a new activity together. We came upon this activity by the awesome Robert Kaplinsky (@RobertKaplinsky). Hot dogs + linear + quadratic = cool! We liberally stole the idea and adapted to mini-marshmallows so that our students can actually collect the data themselves, without getting sick (hopefully). Together we came up with some good questions to follow up the data collection/graphing/finding equations part of the activity. I really love the way we bounced ideas off each other and thought about the activity in different ways. And I think what we ended up with will be good
Throughout the day we had conversations about what we are looking for in activities, what makes them "good". We talked about the effect teaching this way may have on our students - about how they will retain more of what they learn and that they will hopefully have a more positive attitude toward math. And we all know that this is a journey where the finish line is always moving so we will never be "done". I'm just really fortunate to be making the journey in such good company.