I try not to just promote apps and websites but I found a gem for anyone wanting to create their own math content. You know how pre-created material have those fancy official looking graphs? With arrows at both ends! GraphFree.com is exactly what you’ve been looking for. Scatter plots for line of fit practice, one and two variable inequalities, any function… they all look good.
Why do I create my own content? I differentiate instruction in my classroom and I’m always needing more practice for standards. This site has been amazing for creating these resources. I’ve used them in Google docs and slide activities too. The image quality is great.
I didn’t show it on the graphs below, but you can label and number each axis. It’s very versatile.
To reinforce the formula for the volume of a cone, I have my students create a cone and cylinder with the same radius and height, I pop a huge bag of popcorn, then we see if 3 cones full of popcorn will fill their cylinder. I could have my students google the process of making a cone with a specific height but it takes awhile so I give them the process. If you have a few days to spend on it, having them come up with the process would be a great way to add rigor to the project. I’ve added my note sheet at the bottom that includes the process and reflection.
How do we get students to think, to focus on learning, to seek out learning, to want to learn? This is a conversation that my husband, a secondary principal, and I had on our 4-hour car ride this weekend. We are both learners. We love to learn new information and seek out people to learn from. I don’t see this in most of my students.
In the scavenger hunt activity that I posted, students needed to look at images and decide which one would answer the question.
student: Mrs. Tolen, how do I know what it’s asking?
Me: What are you clues?
Student: Can’t you just tell me?
Me: Yes, but I’m not going to.
Student: But that’s you job.
Me: No, my job is to teach you to learn. Tell me one thing that might give you an idea about what this is asking.
It’s exhausting to do this day after day. I had hoped by 3rd quarter that students would start taking an initiative. Standards based grading has helped them identify what they need help with and they’ll tell me what they need help with but they still just want me to tell them how to do it. I’ve talked to them about brain based research, about how THEY need to process the information to learn it. They want the path of least resistance.
We’ve created this issue. Start here stop there, do this then that, create this and here’s my example to copy… Students who are most successful (based solely on grades) are the ones who can regurgitate information quickly, copy a project precisely, and complete assignments the first time even if they didn’t completely understand. When you ask these students to use this information in a new situation, create something unique, or to explore something they may never have seen before, this is when true intelligence rises to the top.
This is what employers want. They want thinkers, not drones, they want new ideas and innovation. I don’t know the easy button answer to my first question:How do we get students to think, to focus on learning, to seek out learning, to want to learn? I know we need to change what we are doing with students. We need to get rid of standardized testing, GPA, class rank and anything else that focuses on a grade and not on learning. We need to create a culture where students want to learn, where their first response is to think about a solution, and simply copying what someone else has done is just not good enough. We need to keep asking questions and stop always giving answers.
I’m going to end with Einstein – a great thinker who impacted our world. He didn’t consider himself intelligent but he did consider himself a learner.
Through #MTBoS I found a video from (insert name here when I find it again) talking about using Google in the classroom. I’m always looking for ideas I haven’t thought of before. Most of the video was reinforcement for what I already do but he did have a foldable (please comment if this is yours so I can credit you) created in Google Slides. I loved it.
I combined this foldable with a QR scavenger hunt to reinforce question prompts in quadratic word problems. This was a thinking activity for the students. They don’t usually like thinking activities. They did enjoy the QR part and I could tell by the discussions at the tables that thinking was happening. In the end, they had a resource to use while working their practice problems.
Below are the links to my files. They are set to read only so you’ll have to make a copy to use them. You will also want to make your own QR codes so students are pulling these images from your Drive. I used the goo.gl extension in my Chrome browser.