Vito Prosciutto: Teaching community college math on the road to a PhD.

Friday, November 21, 2003

Oh and I taught at the high school too 

I think that the algebra kids are finally beginning to get graphing parabolas. I really actively dislike the book that we use. It makes everything seem so arbitrary the way the information is presented. I think that I would graph parabolas before I talked about solving them. In fact, when I taught this material on Saturday last year, that's exactly what we did. In that case, we set up as our motivation finding the points on a line that were a particular distance from a third point not on the line. We did some graphing to find solutions in that manner, then I went into what I called a digression, and looked at polynomial multiplication and factoring, but just enough of that students saw perfect square factors and difference of squares. From there, we moved to completing the square and derived the quadratic formula. Here, everything is completely wrong.

Geometry had their unit test. The students tore through the exam (although I had a lot of absences). Since there was about 15 minutes left over before the end of the day, I plugged in my mac to the monitor and showed them a few things about centers of triangles that we didn't cover in class, but that might have been interesting things to see. I think they were more entertained by the animation in Geometer's Sketchpad then by the amazing qualities of the Euler line, but it was a start.

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