An amazing STEM lesson
Name: Earl Johnson, NBCT
Bio: From Michigan originally, Earl is a high school math teacher who bleeds Green and White. He went to MSU for his undergrad, teaching certification, and Master’s degree. He used to work in the bullpen at Wrigley Field and taught Ryan Madson how to multiply fractions. Go Green!
Narrative of Amazing Teaching Moment: My amazing teaching moment took place in an Algebra with Trigonometry classroom. I am fortunate enough to work with Ti-Nspire calculators and have them linked to a TI-Navigator system. This allows me to see every student’s calculator on my laptop and project them onto a white screen when they are doing interesting or amazing things. Armed with this technology, it makes sense for students to explore and discover concepts rather than learn directly from me.
Students had basic understanding of how the calculators worked, but for this lesson, I used something new to them. Pictures on their calculators! Specifically, on a graph. All of the pictures were of shapes similar to that of a parabola. Examples include: the path of a basketball shot, the St. Louis Arch, the McDonald's Arches. The goal for students was to adjust the general vertex form y=a(x-h)2+k of a quadratic to match the picture shown on their calculator. Students could see when the graph they created would match the picture and when it was off. Going into the lesson students had no knowledge of a, h, and k and what they did to change the parabola. With every change they made, a new parabola appeared before them and they began to understand what each item controlled.
Once students got comfortable adjusting a, h, and k, they were asked to explain what each item controlled. This lesson was followed up by a more traditional lesson using graphs on paper and identifying the vertex form of the quadratic using their new knowledge.
Hashtags: #creative #reallifeapplication #captivating #Nspire #powerfultools #mathiseverywhere #highschool #math
The Big Five Keys to STEM Success
- Differentiated instruction: reach students of all learning capabilities increasing students knowledge and success, gives teachers the opportunity and builds off students strengths and weakness
- Creativity: limitations are often removed from activities; leads to student engagement, fun and can make the activity accessible to different learning styles.
- Real world connection: Allows students to make a connection and brings relevance to the learning; can show practical applications to acquired knowledge.
- Student-centered: Gives students the ability to explore through hands on activities; allows them to make discoveries on their own.
- Rigorous: The instruction needs to be sufficiently challenging to ensure student engagement and push students’ thinking and learning. It should help students ‘unlearn’ misconceptions.