Monday, September 25, 2006

Spaghetti Sine Curves

I heard of a great way to get the graph of y = sin x to "stick" in students' heads, so today I tried it out. You're supposed to link the graph of the function to its value on the unit circle. Most sites I searched had the students either gluing the spaghetti lengths to the paper (too messy for me), or had the students use protractors to get exact angle measurements around the unit circle to use (not necessary and too time consuming in my opinion). So, I made up my own sheet.

I taught it for 3 periods, and by the last period :) I liked how it ran. For the first 2 periods I verbally gave instructions, and then pointed to the instructions on the back and had them "make sure you follow the instructions carefully". It seemed like I mostly wasted my breath because they still had questions, and it seemed like too many kids were zoning out with the "ach, there's the teacher blabbing again. I can tune out until we have to do something" face.

I also feel I lost an opportunity for the students to learn how to read math .... and read lots of words and follow them without giving up. For the 3rd period, I just started them on their way by mentioning the instructions. I gave a little spiel about how reading math is not like reading a novel or magazine. They worked beautifully. I also used a little trick I read on someone else's blog. I kept reiterating, "the instructions are VERY clear and EASY to understand". Tee Hee.

Their graphs turned out great. If anyone wants a copy send e-mail, and I'll pass it along. Or download it here.

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