Friday, March 23, 2012

Weekly Class Summary: Mar. 19-23

SOLs Covered: 6.17 Patterns & Sequences
Math Dictionary Sections: (25) Patterns & Sequences
Upcoming Assessments: Patterns & Sequences Quiz (Mon. 3/26); Measures of Central Tendency (Wed. 3/4)

Monday and Tuesday were reserved for exploring the patterns lesson given to us by Harvard as part of the TESLA Project. The lesson entailed students discovering how many "trains" they could create using Cuisenaire rods for a given train length. This led to a few different pattern discoveries, both numerical and geometric. While things got a little more complicated the higher the lengths got, students were engaged and seemed to enjoy the challenge and a chance to work with the manipulatives. I plan to let the kids explore making other patterns of their own design with the Cuisenaire rods in the weeks to come, but they can practice (and play!) using the virtual versions from Math Playground or Nrich, both of which we used in class to check our work. On Wednesday after students wrapped up Brainology and the post-surveys for TESLA, some students still had enough time to try the virtual versions themselves or to continue their Lure of the Labyrinth adventures from last week.

"Trains" created using Math Bars on Math Playground
Since work for the TESLA project took longer than I expected, I postponed the scheduled patterns and sequences quiz to allow us to spend all of Thursday and Friday exploring other patterns. We spent a little more time going over the Math Dictionary notes for this section, paying extra attention to some of the new vocabulary (ex. arithmetic vs. geometric sequences). Students then worked with various problems discovering the rule being applied and started learning how to write these "rules" as algebraic equations. This was all applied to our culminating unit/week activity, the reading of Spaghetti and Meatballs for All: A Mathematical Story by Marilyn Burns. The book explores the many table arrangements the characters attempt to use in order to seat all 32 guests at a family dinner party. We were able to review geometry concepts (perimeter and area) throughout the book but after finishing the tale, we explored the patterns made by drawing out our own "table arrangements" on sheets of graph paper and then charting the number of available seats at connected versus single tables. The quiz on patterns and sequences will take place on Monday before we start our next unit.

A fun look at nature's patterns...

A practical (and fun! IMHO) look at patterns...

From this point-on, the weekly HW Stingray Reward winners will be chosen during class on Monday of the following week.  This will undoubtedly be a little more exciting for the students, but it will also allow us to discuss the probability of whose name will pop up on the screen each time.

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