I have had a very active blogging week thinking about (and writing about) my Geometry class. I have three preparations this year, AP Statistics, AP Calculus BC, and Geometry. I’m not proud of it, but I know that my attention to each class varies at different times of the year. Iy’s not a simple matter of 33 1/3 % of my planning energy being spent on one class at any time. Do many of you go through this as well? By the way, how many preps do most folks have?
Anyways, I blogged in December about my discomfort with HW in Geometry and gathered some nice ideas. I blogged about my decisions about changing habits and it has felt like a raging success. Five to seven minutes at the beginning of class of students sharing their work with each other and correcting each other/reinforcing each other/ sharing their miseries, etc. It’s just been a really terrific week with them and I have let them know how much I appreciate their demeanor, their energy, their willingness to share with each other. Today we had a quiz (you can grab it from here) on Sections 6.1 – 6.3 of our text (you can grab that here) exploring centers of triangles. We’ve talked about perpendicular bisectors, altitudes, medians, and angle bisectors this week. We have played with GeoGebra and looked at how, in each case, all three segments have a common point where they coincide. We’ve talked about which ones could coincide outside the circle and those are not popular choices as the best center of the triangle. We had a great lab activity yesterday (you can grab that here) and it developed into an interesting debate where one group of students nominated the intersection of the angle bisectors as the best representation of the center of a triangle while the other three groups all felt that the intersection of the medians was best. As we had a healthy debate I found myself wishing that I had been clever enough to have physical triangles to manipulate. Next year, I want to be prepared with cardboard triangles of various types with these two candidates for center marked out. I dropped the ball on this one anticipating that everyone would feel best about the centroid. What really impressed me was that the group arguing for the angle bisectors had GeoGebra construct a circle that had this incenter as its center and showed that this circle touched all three sides. I was THRILLED that they thought of this argument.
So, this morning I felt confident as my cherubs asked their last few questions before the quiz and the results are in. I have 12 students in this class and 4 of them earned perfect scores with another 4 earning an A on the quiz. Their class average was 93%!!! I’m thrilled by this. I think that this is due to a number of factors.
- In general, my students have had more energy this week in January than they did in the few weeks leading up to our winter break.
- I believe that the HW strategy has made a positive difference.
- I believe that the extensive use of GeoGebra in class is finally spreading to the home. I have overheard a number of students this week make reference to looking at GeoGebra while doing their HW this week. I am a firm believer in the power of these graphing programs and, for my Geometry students at least, I think that this is the best of the bunch.
- I worked hard during break planning out this unit for me and for my Geometry team of two terrific colleagues. This thoughtfulness has paid off.
Oh yeah, one final thought. As a long-time Calculus teacher I have a strong preference for lines in the point-slope format. Every one of my students presented at least one of their line answers in this format. Woo-hoo!!!