Saturday, September 13, 2014

High Five Fridays!

It's been awhile since I've posted. A few years in fact. After having going through some big changes in my life, (a move, a kid, a new teaching job) I think I'm starting to get the itch to really get into this blogging thing. 

Here's something I've been doing the past few years that I thought I would share. Each Friday I try to bring in some math and science topics that are beyond the scope and sequence of the course. My thought process for doing this is three-fold: 
1.  It breaks up the monotony for the students and myself and gives us something to look forward to. 
2.  It shows the students that the world of mathematics doesn't fit into the small box that is controlled by the sequencing of textbooks, ACT College Readiness Standards, or the CCSS. 
3.  It (hopefully) gets students to appreciate the field of mathematics and understand its vastness. 

One of my goals as a math teacher is to get more students interested in STEM related fields. I feel that by only teaching the traditional scope and sequence more and more students will choose not to go into math and science related careers. This is especially true for those students who don't get to the more advanced courses and never get past the idea that math is not just a bunch of rules that don't make sense. I hate that it's ok in our society to say "I'm just not good at math." Hopefully, by showing the students that traditional high school math doesn't define math I'm hoping that students get a better understanding of what math is and create curiosity to want to learn more math. 

What I do each Friday isn't that special. Typically it's just a short YouTube video that I found at some point and a short history/background of the topic. Sometimes it's related to the topic we're learning about, and sometimes not. Sometimes it's science related, and others are just a cool, blow your mind video. You know the ones. The Vi Harts, Veritasiums, Minute Physics, etc. I've been teaching for six years now and I can't really remember when I started this, but the past three years I've made it a point to do this every Friday. The students look forward to it, and they also get a celebratory high five as they leave class.  This year I decided to create a sequence for each grade/course level I teach with the plans of expanding this to all 9-12 math courses. I mean I've kept a list of the ones I've used in the past but I didn't always keep track of each one and they weren't in any kind of order. The sequences aren't complete, in fact I don't even know what I'm going to do for this coming Friday. I used to just use the same plan for all my classes but I'm thinking that if this is going to be a thing, then they should be different. A lot of the students I have in Precalc I will see again in Calculus. My ultimate goal would be to roll this out so that all the math teachers in my school/district could pull from these lists and use them if they wanted to, which is another reason to have no repeats. Of course I would also love to share this with the MTBoS and would love to get suggestions from you. When I get a decent sized list going I'll post it here so check back soon!

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