## Trying to find math inside everything else

### Lab –> Lecture –> Assessment

Next year, the weekly schedule at my school is going to be 2 double periods for a particular class (alternating sections on an A/B day schedule) with a single period for every section on Wednesday. Because of the new schedule, I wanted to make a new structure for my class, which is the title of this post: Lab –> Lecture –> Assessment.

There are roughly 30 proper weeks of learning in the year, so I figured I would have 30 Learning Goals to cover, and do one each week. I would introduce each learning goal with a “math lab,” which may be an actual lab (like the popular M&M Lab for exponential growth/decay) or a 3 Act problem or something else that the students can really engage in before getting down to the nitty-gritty and symbolic way mathematicians deal with the problem.

The next double wouldn’t necessarily just be lecture, but it would be the abstraction of what we did the lesson before, including lecturing on technique and practicing what we’ve learned. Then assessment could be any number of things, but will almost certainly involve a targeted quiz.

Seems like a good structure, right? Problem is, while I have a lot of good labs and problems for most of the topics (and will keep improving), not all of them do. Particularly:

1. Radicals – Simplifying & Arithmetic
2. Unit Conversion
3. Solving in Terms Of
4. Box-and-Whisker Plots / Percentiles
5. Scientific Notation
6. Statistics Vocabulary (univariate/bivariate, etc.)

So my major goal this summer will be to develop something for each of those. The rest I can fall back on what I have, even if I don’t come up with something new/better. But these have nothing. My first task/idea is to develop a board game about radicals. That’s still under development. Any other suggestions would be appreciated.

#### Comments on: "Lab –> Lecture –> Assessment" (4)

1. Peter said:

James,

I have enjoyed reading your blog and am really intrigued by the ideas you mention Lab -> Lecture -> Assessment. You mentioned: “I have a lot of good labs and problems for most of the topics.” I am also an Algebra teacher in NY and would love to see what are the Labs/3 acts you have decided to introduce the other topics in the course.

Thanks for your help.

• Well, perhaps I should have said that I at least have ideas for a lot of them, because I’m sure they will change over the course of the year. But here’s some:

Error – Have students run a carnival guessing game, where the guesser has to guess within a certain range of your (weight/height/age) to win, and if he’s wrong, the player wins. What range would they need to ensure that they win more than the other person?

Volume & Surface Area – http://blog.mrmeyer.com/?p=9469 – the cheese blocks, but I’m going to try and see if I can turn it into an actual lab where students can melt/cook stuff themselves

Quadratics – Have students build catapults and figure out where there shot will land

Probability – the Monty Hall problem – http://rootsoftheequation.wordpress.com/2012/06/06/the-monty-hall-problem/

Pythagorean Theorem – Pythagoras in 3D – I can’t find where I originally got these problems from, but I have students split into three groups, give them K’Nex to build models with, and work on these problems, then present out – https://www.dropbox.com/s/fy3utemez6cvat6/Pythagorean%20Theorem%20Lab.pdf

Systems of Equations – http://rootsoftheequation.wordpress.com/2012/03/06/3-acts-potatoes/

Scatterplots & Best Fit – http://blog.mrmeyer.com/?p=440 – the Red Dot, and http://rootsoftheequation.wordpress.com/2012/06/10/have-fun-with-it/ – the Hot/Crazy Scale

Polynomial Arithmetic – Math Magic Tricks

Sets – What’s My Set game

Trigonometry – I want to get some Clinometers and use them & trig to measure the size of the classroom

Rational Arithmetic – my Egyptian Fractions lesson

Linear Equations – http://blog.mrmeyer.com/?p=692 – Stacking Cups

Slope – Steepest Stairs – http://rootsoftheequation.wordpress.com/2012/01/16/steepest-stairs-and-wacky-measurements/

Proportions – There’s this Fish Sampling lesson based on how scientists estimate the populations of animals where they scoop out some beans, tag them with stickers, “release” back into the “wild,” mix it up, and scoop again, using the proportion of tagged to untagged to estimate the total population

There’s some more that I can’t easily link to or explain, that’ll probably get posts when I use them throughout the year. This whole structure is a big work in progress. I think I’ll try to do a post every week breaking down what I did for each.

2. John J. Kalicki said:

Long story but I too would love to see what you decided to use to introduce the other topics in the course. Thanks for your consideration.

3. James,

Awesome, thank you for posting. I appreciate all your help.