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 them--in 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 crash-and-burn activity
Obstacles I did not expect:
1) Students unfamiliarity with reading flow-charts
2) Student unfamiliarity with creating flow-charts
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 flo-chart. 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.
Educator who loves math and working with students.