Teaching conics is awesome! I really enjoy that this topic allows me and my students to be creative in numerous ways. I was discussing with a fellow teacher that I was having my students identify if a given equation was a parabola, circle, ellipse, or a hyperbola. She suggested creating a flowchart for themin order for to write an equation in standard form it is beneficial to know which standard form it needs to be in based off the given equation. What a great idea! But instead of me creating the flowchart for my students I started them off and had them finish it. I wanted this to be something that they created and therefore took ownership. I am also always up for fun colors and decorations so this meet that wish as well! I quickly realized after my first support class that my students were not that familiar with how flowcharts were created and lacked the background to make one. I did not expect this obstacle. For my next support class I took more of a class approach and started to walk through it more together. That worked a little bit better. The flowchart was a somewhat crashandburn activity Obstacles I did not expect: 1) Students unfamiliarity with reading flowcharts 2) Student unfamiliarity with creating flowcharts 3) Some students were not real sure the differences between the 4 conic sections If I do this activity again, I will introduce the idea of flowcharts with an example from a teen magazine. There are silly ones that get the idea of how to read a flochart. Then I would have my students create a silly flowchart with a topic they are familiar with (example: how to tell what Twilight character you are, what your favorite sport it, etc...). Then I would have them create a flowchart for conics.
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Natalie Turbiville
Educator who loves math and working with students. Archives
May 2016
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