Thursday, January 23, 2014

The "boring" bit

I read Dan Meyer's post on Teaching the Boring Bits this week.  Our topic beginning Friday is rational exponents.  We will spend just 2 class days on the skills of simplifying and solving with fraction exponents.  This is in preparation for delving into the exponential and logarithmic functions.

The focus on manipulating algebraic expressions - skill only - has the potential to fall under that category some call the boring bits.  I decided to flip the two lessons ... partly because of the non-interesting factor ... a way to shake up the classroom.  That alone of course isn't enough necessarily to make the task any more interesting.  (I also work in a 1:1 environment and look for ideas and structure to use the technology we have more fully).

So I re-read Dan's post.  I have a couple of thoughts.

I can engineer an argumentative discussion around the question, "Is 0 to the 0 power equal to 1?"

And/Or ... in the stations I am setting up, I can structure my feedback to be just enough at just the right time so that they "grapple" with challenging problems.

I'm looking for a few challenging problems that will stretch my students' thinking in this skill-based unit.  Unit starts tomorrow ... still working out the kinks!

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