Teaching Technology Lessons

So for my project, I have been working with Keegan, Danielle, and Paul Yu. We were creating a technology lesson on proportions and similarity. The lesson we had prepared involved Geogebra and other worksheets, so we decided to create a weebly (http://gvsujenison.weebly.com/) which worked easily for the students to access. The lesson had 4 main stages. The first was to review proportions using the computers and to actually have the students measure corresponding parts on the computer. This part was labeled as the Launch on the weebly page. The next step was to have students open the Geogebra link and have them play with it without moving the sliders. We had to give some basic instructions on how to use the tool first since this is the first time the students were seeing Geogebra. During this part the students were just playing with the tool and telling us what they observed (which was that the two figures were similar). The third step was to have the student move one particular slider (the top left) to 4.5 and see what they observe (the figures are not similar). The fourth step was to have each row move two different sliders and see what they can find. After each step we would have a discussion on the findings and construct mathematical arguments to support their conjectures. The last thing we were planning to have the students do was an exit slip which should only take about 5 minutes.

This past Tuesday, we actually visited Jenison high school and taught the lesson. Keegan taught first hour. Overall, the lesson did not go horrible. Being first hour and there was a strange person teaching their class, the students were not very talkative and it was difficult to get them engage in the activity. That is until Keegan and students move the sliders and play with the figure. You could see the students become instantly engaged and you could see the learning take place.

After the class had finished, Keegan, Paul, and I went to reflect on what had just happened. Basically, I said he should have used the board and reviewed some of the terminology with the students since they just learned proportions the day before. Jill (the original teacher) also said that she doesn’t use the term scale factor often and they use the term magnitude instead. I also suggested moving the 6 columns of desks together to create 3 columns of desk that are two desks wide so each student has a specific partner to discuss the activity with. When Keegan instructed the students to discuss certain things, they just sort of looked around and moved wherever. Paul mentioned that I should say to convince your partner using measurement that the figures are similar or not similar. Keegan had told the student to talk with their partner and convince them that the figures were similar. You could here the students just saying they were similar based on how they looked.

When I taught the lesson third hour, I thought it was very successful. First of all, the students were more awake and already talking as they came in the room. The review I added of terminology such as magnitude and proportions was a great help to the lesson. I left these up on the board the entire hour for students to reference (which they did). There was also a lot more conversation happening between partners about the figures being similar based on the measurements they took. I also think grouping the desks together helped entice conversation. I was not as happy with my conclusion as I would like to be. After I somewhat summed up the moving of the sliders I moved straight on to the exit slip we asked the students to fill out. I wish I would have reviewed the entire lesson with the students asking them what they learned as the lesson progressed. Keegan did this and it was great and I didn’t realize I did not until I had already instructed the students to do the exit slip.

Overall, I believe the students liked the change of their typical lesson and using the technology to learn. It was definitely a lot of work creating the technology lesson but I think it paid of with the student learning that came out of it. When I was observing Keegan during the first hour I paid attention to many things I would change and do differently wither because of my personal teaching style or the way the lesson just needed to be modified. However, I never paid much attention to the time management that Keegan used throughout his lesson. Then, when I taught third hour, I had to somewhat guess based on my instincts of how long each part would take.

Our next step is to write a formal review of the lessons and the experiences.