Since today was the first day back after spring break, I thought I’d remind them of volume in an effective and engaging way while incorporating PrBL and the SMP’s. It was a great activity.
We really needed volume practice. I love the whiteboard stamp game because I can provide immediate verbal feedback to students and they can get differentiated support. It was awesome to be able to pinpoint their areas of confusion and help them to get clarification. I do not emphasize speed, I have them work in pairs or 3’s and they only get the “point” when everybody in the group has the correct solution with work & they can explain it.
This encourages them to help each other & the whiteboard provides a safe place to experiment, since if feels less permanent than pencil & paper. Students had increasing confidence as the problems progressed. I carefully scaffolded the problems and we discussed its similarities and differences to previous problems before I started the timer. Tomorrow we will work on volumes of compound solids.
I have 3 class days this week, then there are 2 days of conferences before spring break, so I know students will forget some content over the break. I decided to teach volume in these 3 days, and then address surface area, which is harder for students, after the break.
I planned to complete students interactive notes on volume on Monday, then have Tuesday and Wednesday for students to work on concept development and applying their notes using Mathematics Assessment Project’s Calculating Volumes of Compound Objects.
During the first period of the class, I realized that all volume notes in one 50-minute period was overload for my students. I think they left feeling overwhelmed, and I talked too much. Next year, I need to find a day to practice area (maybe a stations activity), then do volume of prisms & cylinders the following day and incorporate some basic practice (simultaneous round table?). The next class we should discuss and complete notes and maybe a lab on pyramids and cones showing that these objects have 1/3 of the volume of their prism counterparts, and include some basic practice before and compound solids after the lesson where students can apply concepts from the previous lessons.
The lesson today did improve with each of my 3 geometry classes, with minor adjustments to pacing and demonstration & discussion. However, I feel like it should have been spread over two days, with area practice prior to it.
To compensate, tomorrow we will do a basic practice whiteboard/stamp game with students in pairs or 3’s before jumping into the math assessment project lesson mentioned above.
I think some of these tiny failures come from not having taught geometry to these students before. I am looking forward to having the opportunity to re-tune my pacing for next school year and avoid these failures, but of course, I am sure I will find new ones!
Our state testing starts tomorrow, I had a lot of goals I wanted to communicate to students before they jumped into these assessments:
- Remind students that they are capable of solving problems, even when it has not been explicitly taught.
- Intro to surface area, its coming up soon.
- Build, confidence, success and curiosity about mathematics.
[update 3/14: This sheet and other 3 act math resources can be found here.]
The mean score on the scatter plot assessment was a 3 out of 4 and the mean score on the statistics assessment was a 3.5 out of 4. Many students were surprised that they know so much. I think this means they were ready for the quiz!
I procrastinated blogging about these two days because they were rough. I just gave students time to work on word problems where they practiced writing equation in slope intercept form and using it to make predictions. When I assigned this, I had no idea it would be so painful. Next year I will break the problems up and make it a “stations” activity. I think part of the problem was that students felt overwhelmed by a packet. I also need to make time to include a better INB page with this type of problem.