In recent years, mean absolute deviation and variability concepts have been added to 7th grade math. It seems like a huge jump from their current understanding to these concepts, but we as teachers always figure out ways to make the content accessible to students. The first time I taught mean absolute deviation I just told the kids that absolute value was the distance a number is from zero. It seems like a simple concept and in my rush to get to the meat of the topic, I left it at that. Well, needless to say, the majority of my students don’t retain information just because I say it a couple of times. I know, I know, teaching lesson learned (again!). Let me share with you how teaching absolute value through discovery made teaching the whole topic of mean absolute deviation and absolute value in general so much easier.
What are the chances your students will forget what they learn about probability? It’s an uncomfortable truth that they often forget things that they’ve studied in class. But they are much more likely to forget if they don’t build schema and connections with this concept. I’m excited to share with you my favorite way to do just that. Discovery labs give you one way that help your students to build background and ultimately remember what they learn (wanna read more how I got started with discovery labs? Read that story here.)
As teachers we want our students to discover things, but we also like to be in control. Sometimes we feel like we don’t have enough time to let students discover. We just want to jump in and give them a list of steps. I believe there is certainly a place for teaching the list of steps, but I have also seen the power of discovery and I can’t go back to the days before I used it. Now, I start every unit with a discovery lesson. Some topics call for more involved discovery activities, like volume of cylinders, cones, and spheres. Other topics are less complex like simple probability. In this post I would like to share the discovery activity I used with my students for simple probability.
Do your students struggle to understand and remember the distance formula? Boy, have I been there. In this blog post you will see a powerful way to teacher the distance formula that will push you kids to productive struggle. When they get to the place of struggle and then you give them just a little support, then they will understand and remember the distance formula more than ever before.
Using a discovery lab to introduce students to the Pythagorean Theorem was an amazing way to kick off my Pythagorean Theorem unit. I’m excited to share with you exactly how we got hands-on with the Pythagorean Theorem proof and how it helped my students really understand this geometry concept. I’ll also share with you how I used foldable notes to introduce this unit to my students. [Read more…] about Teaching the Pythagorean Theorem Proof through Discovery