Saturday, March 29, 2008

I should title this post You Might be a Geek..... 6th hour yesterday, one of the secretaries from Central Office called to say I had a huge package, something like a suitcase, waiting for me, so I sent a couple of girls to fetch it.

I had totally forgotten requesting a set of calculators from Texas Instruments. When I opened the black crate and saw those shiny TI 84 Plus Silver Editions, I was soooo excited! I brought one home to play with and spent about a couple of hours last night familiarizing myself with the calculator and its functions. I simply cannot wait for Monday to share this with the kids!

In all actuality, I should wait a few days to use them, but I am so totally geeked up I know we are going to use them Monday in all 3 classes. My two math classes have some experience with slope, y-intercepts and linear equations, but not really enough to do much on the calculators but I think just using the graphing function to see how slope and y-intercepts change the graph, looking at non-linear equations, and playing with exponents will be enough to hook them.

My prealgebra kids however, don't have much experience even in slope so they really are not ready to do many of those things. But this is such a bright group of kids, I know they will pick up on the concepts quickly.

The coolest thing.. we just spent Thursday and Friday on Building a Garden Gate where they looked at how a fixed perimeter changes areas and side lengths. Students graphed all the possible side lenght combos for a 60 ft perimeter fence two ways, one comparing side lenght 1 to side length 2, which is actually a simple linear equation, as well as graphed length of side lenght one compared to the area. I am hoping to use this actitivty as a springboard for writing equations and using the graphing calculator. I think since they just made their own graphs, using the calculators will be more meaningful.

My husband is a math phobe as well as a technology phobe. When I was able to have him write the equations as well as use the calculator to make the graphs, seeing the excitement on his face, I KNEW my 7th graders were going to be totally geeked about this.

My biggest concern for Monday is those SLOW laggers who are always a couple of steps behind. This will be a whole class activity, with me walking them step by step through the process, but I can already predict which of my little lovelies will fall behind. I am not sure how to deal with them, other than type out step by step instructions, which most likely they wouldn't follow anyway... and that would give some others a license to forge forward without understanding what we are doing, so I refuse to do that, at least for this intial exposure to the calculators.

TI has so many cool activites posted on their website, I am sure I can find followup activities to use as well. I only have the calculators for a month so I want to make sure I use them as much as possible.

So yes, call me a geek... I love trying something new!!

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