Lesson Playback: A Trig Foldable

If I am not at the top of my game, my third algebra 2 class can be a challenge. I am usually able to finagle the schedule though so that my third class lands the day after I had a chance to teach a lesson in the first two sections and can hence make adjustments to it with them in mind. This can result in a class that can eclipse the quality of the first two.

Today I wanted to further consolidate our learning about the unit circle. There aren't really many blog entries here so it should be easy to catch up if you are interested. Last class we worked on the trig puzzle I created, most groups managed to solve it and many even worked out the quote. You know an activity is engaging when you get e-mails late at night proclaiming a solution or kids running into class doing the same. The six identities were more of a challenge. They would be today's focus.

Usually it's 5 Minutes of ❤.

Usually it's 5 Minutes of ❤.

Today instead of the normal routine we started class with a 3-minute brainstorm. I always time this stuff on my phone and the alarm is almost always the same song. Currently Eric Hutchinson's lovely Rock and Roll. When the alarm sounds the kids stop working and immediately begin singing along. Always, and no I did not tell them to do this, these traditions just begin. When I turn off the timer it is quiet again. After the three minutes were up I did a quick snowball activity. Basically all this means is the students crumple their paper up like a snowball (kind of foreign in Mumbai) and throw it somewhere else in the room. This is not my favorite activity but kids like throwing their paper at one another, and used sparingly (like once or twice a year) it works. Once everyone retrieved a new paper I set the timer to two minutes and had them add facts to the new sheet they had. After this round they passed their paper to a neighbor and added facts for one more minute.

Next I picked one of the front whiteboards (my classroom is a whiteboard paradise) and we did some rounds. I went around the room, student to student, and had each of them contribute a fact they thought were important to the whiteboard map. I scribed. In retrospect I probably could have had a student do this, although they were all busy adding facts they had still missed to their sheets. About halfway through this process I deadpanned that this was even more fun than Scattergories. Although it actually was fun, and everybody was engaged. With no classes up to this point resembling a traditional lecture, my kids had collectively figured out a lot about the unit circle.

Results of our group brainstorm.

Results of our group brainstorm.

With a board full of information I told my students to indicate on their papers the three most important points we had put on the board and look up when they were done. Next I got them out of their seats and had them indicate their selections using asterisks or checks on the board.

With a quick review of the unit circle over, it was time for arts and crafts. I had decided yesterday that I would try one of these «foldables» I endlessly see on math blogs, so we gathered round and Katie taught us how to make one of those fortune telling things.

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Back to the front I went. I surmised from the previous day's lesson that while few of the students had figured out all six (three pairs) of the trig identities I had included in the puzzle, we could probably come up with them in a group brainstorm. It went really fast actually. Our fortune teller foldable would house this information.

Quick sketch of what the final draft should look like.

Quick sketch of what the final draft should look like.

I split the kids into small groups for the next part of the activity that was a jigsaw. Each group had to sketch a diagram (with words if necessary) that would illustrate why their trig identity pairs were true. I gave them 9 minutes to come up with their diagrams and then each group presented to the others. During this time I moved from group to group to give advice and ask questions.

I had thought their might be a few minutes at the end of the block for students to fill in their foldables, but the block was about done. Students snapped photos of the whiteboards and will complete the task for homework.

Draft explanation of two of the identities.

Draft explanation of two of the identities.

So not the most exciting lesson ever, nor the review game I thought I was going to write about today, but a good example of a lesson on a day in ordinary time.