My morning AFM class, who I love dearly, hate talking. Like. HATE talking. I spent all of last semester trying every thing I could think of to increase whole class discourse. Most of it with limited success. Part of the issue is it’s early in the morning by teenage standards –9am. It is either their first or second class of the day. The other part of the problem is I have a few very vocal kids who, bless their hearts, love to answer questions so the quiet ones defer to them. And for the sake of “keeping the class moving forward” I let the vocal kids do the talking, thusly perpetuating the cycle. Shame on me.
I wanted to work on being better this semester with these morning class kids. So today, on a whim, I decided to try a Stand and Talk for the intro to modeling activity. I gave them a zoomed in screen shot of a Desmos window with 3 functions. And I asked them to state what functions they thought they were and then to prove it to the best of their ability. Here’s a screen shot of the paper they had:
It was the first day of the modeling unit. They hadn’t learn how to prove a function is linear, or quadratic, or exponential. And they thought I was being evil when I had them working with their group. I was at one point accused of “throwing [them] in the deep end and watching them not swim.” To be honest this was intentional. I needed the student to realize they didn’t know what characteristics define the shape of their parent functions. I needed them to want a tool. To steal a Dan Meyer-ism, I needed a headache. So I made one.
Right as I could tell they were seconds from giving up I asked them to stand up with their paper and go and find a peer with whom they hadn’t talked to at all today. Then to discuss their thoughts and strategies.
Look at that glorious talking. ❤️
I have never been so excited about a noisy classroom in my career. I contained my glee but did sneak one picture. They were having such wonderful math conversations about what they were thinking.
In the end we walked away with 100% certainty that there was a linear function. And no clue what the other ones were.
We returned to seats. I pulled up the Desmos with the zoomed in graphs and I asked if zooming out would help. They said yes, and 3 zooms later a class of quiet teenagers were not-so-quietly voicing their feelings to their group on what the other two graphs had to be and why.