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!