Monday 22 June 2015

Exeter Conference - Day 1

I am at the Math, Science & Technology Conference at Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, NH this week. This is a pretty unique conference. It is a week-long, residential (we stay in the dorms) conference where each participant takes two 10-hour courses and also gets to go to a number (up to 4/day) CWiC (45 min) sessions as well as three featured speakers. I am leading one of the courses and will blog each day about that and possibly other cool stuff I see while I'm here. As the conference started yesterday, I am already a day behind with this blog post (!).

My course is entitled "Creating an Engaging, Inspiring and Collaborative Mathematics Classroom" and we will be doing lots of activities from the MTBoS. Here is the recap for day 1:

After introductions, we played Quadratic Headbanz. Each person put on a headband with a quadratic equation written on it. Their goal was to figure out the equation by asking questions with yes/no answers. I actually hand wrote the equations when I made that set, but here is the 2nd set I made with graphs. I love hearing people play and seeing them think of good questions. I love watching their faces as they process new information and figure out how that affects their equation. The take-aways, besides being a fun and engaging activity, is the need for correct vocabulary to both ask good questions and make sense of the answers your get. I really like that if you are struggling with what to ask, you can learn and "steal" good questions based on what others are asking you. You can also easily adapt this activity (which was for rational functions when I stole it from Sam Shah).

Next, we talked about Twitter and blogs and the MTBoS. Well, I think I did most of the talking. I tried to convey my love of Twitter and how much I learn from blogs. I assigned homework: read (at least) one blog post and share with the class on day 2.

Most participants had not brought a device to class, so instead of playing with SolveMe puzzles (which I blogged about a bit here) and with Desmos, I did some demonstrations and we worked through things together as a class. I love the SolveMe site and we talked about how to translate the pictures into algebra. I showed how it will let you transition to that by dragging each side of the balance. 

You can also create your own, or have your students create their own which I love. 

I then showed some Daily Desmos and talked a bit about how you can use it in class.

Somewhere along the way I also talked about warm ups and showed the warm-up book I made for this past semester. We also talked about whiteboarding (and used little whiteboards to play Headbanz) and spiralling. All this in a 50 minute session : )

I tweeted a bit about the evening speaker's talk. Helen Moore did an outstanding job of making the mathematics relating to the treatment of HIV+ patients accessible and interesting. She has written about it in this book.

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