Saturday, January 30, 2010

Lines Project Continued

My students are still working on their Line Project, and I'm glad I assigned it because various things have come up that I think are good learning experiences for them and for me. I had separated their completion of the project into 3 successive class periods, and for the 1st one they had to turn in a set of data points and a computer-generated scatter plot to show the linear correlation. Well!

Most kids were fine, but others had a variety of issues:
* "The spreadsheet won't make a scatter plot of my data!" (the student was entering data of height vs. weight, and the heights were typed in as 4ft 5in, 4ft 6in, ...)
* "Here's my data ... SEE! Linear" (the set of points was EXACTLY linear since the student found a site that said that every 1 second ___ kids drop out of school, and the student had used that to create 5 coordinate points)

The 2nd class period, they had to turn in their own hand-created scatter plot and best fit line and equation and idea for a prediction using their line equation. Issues:
* Some kids used rise/run to calculate their slope, but the scale of their graph wasn't in "1's".
* Some prediction ideas were: I predict the cost of a loaf of bread will rise 31 cents every 7 years (they used their slope instead of their equation)
* Some just connected the data points, forgetting the example we worked on in class for best-fit line.

And so on. This seems to have taken them out of their comfort zone of how our math class has been going, so I'm glad they're being "mathematicians in action" and learning extra skills. I'm also glad I broke it up into 3 days of checkpoints since I'm guessing I saved myself (and them) the agony of incorrect or NO final products. While I was walking around critiquing their graphs this past class, I gave them THIS to work on.

On a side note, after my hectic week of various extra tasks added on to the already busy schedule, I went out for drinks with my friend, and we had an interesting discussion about the difference between "unethical" and "immoral". What types of things would fall into each separate category? Would some things be both? What's the distinguishing characteristics of something that is one or the other?

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