Teaching the kids in front of me

Day 19: As the year winds down, and my evenings seem to be claimed by writing (and reading) #MTBoS30 posts, I am inspired to try to do the right thing for each class, every single day.  This week, I’m teaching two other people’s Geometry classes, as we experiment with Java.  I’m also teaching my own Honors Precalculus class.  As the day came to an end, I felt pretty good about how things went.  For the Geometry kids, they were all working on finding Waldo in a particular Where’s Waldo image.  They are using nested loops, experimenting with changing shades of colors, and changing colors in a certain area of the image.  This wasn’t precisely where we were planning to go with this lesson, but I think it is the right choice.  The task becomes accessible to all – you can write a program that finds Waldo in this single image, or you can try to write a program that would find Waldo in any image.  The latter option is much more difficult, but I will share one way to do that with the class tomorrow.  I love the different ways kids are approaching this task:  several kids are pulling in some of our old commands to draw a circle around Waldo, having found Waldo themselves and using the program to point him out.  Others are turning all of the image to black or white, except for a small portion containing Waldo.  Again, that technique relies on knowing where he is.  One girl is turning almost everything to white, but also changing the particular shade of Waldo’s red stripes to purple, so she is trying her best to find him in any image.  Another boy who has had some amazing ideas this week suggested searching for Waldo’s glasses in the image.  It’s so fun to see what they are trying!

Then, in Precalculus, the homework for class today was to graph a variety of polar functions on Desmos, using sliders, to see what kind of graphs are created.  We talked about why some of the graphs look the way they do, why the sine and cosine graphs are 90 degree rotations of each other, and why some graphs have unusual features.  The kids seemed pleasantly surprised when I sent them off with homework to post an interesting piece of art made using polar equations.  This work isn’t due until Monday but I already have three submissions, including this cool one.

I’m still not motivated to do the grading I need to do, but otherwise, I think I’m doing pretty well for late May.





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