School's out for summer, and I couldn't sleep last night. Call me crazy. I was up tossing and turning all night...thinking about what you ask?? About the new Honors Problem Solving Seminar elective that I will be teaching next year.
My brain was churning throughout the night about what I should and should not do or add. We are going to a very interesting block schedule next year, and I have to consider how I want to teach the course based on this. The course is a semester course, and students can sign up for both semesters...this means I can't repeat what I did first semester...so it really is a full course I have to plan for. What makes this difficult is that there will be students enrolled second semester that did not take it first semester...so I have a LOT of planning to do...perhaps this is why I kept dreaming/thinking about it all night!
Here are some things I'd like to incorporate into the course. The model we will have for our modified block schedule next year is: 50 minute class Monday, and two 90 minute blocks during the week.
- Hand out a Problem Set a week before actually going over them. This will consist of about 8 questions a week similar to this one that I used when I taught a problem solving class in Hong Kong one summer. This will be gone over the following week (see below) Exeter Style.
- Monday (50 minutes) will be competitions day. I will give students 30 minute competitions like Florida Math League competitions, Hustles, speed math, mental math, and Relays, and then will take the remaining 20 minutes to have students go to the board to explain anything that some students did not understand.
- Block 1: Students will go over the first problem set. At the beginning of class, students will go to the board (I have whiteboard walls) and will put up solutions to their favorite problem. They will then each explain the problems to the rest of the class and others can add the way that they did the problem. When finished, the next problem set will be handed out.
- Block 2: Part 1: Show a video...this could be a Ted Talk, like Angela Duckworth's Ted Talk on Grit or maybe one of these on the Monty Hall Problem. Yes this is what was going through my brain at 3am last night!
- Block 2: Part 2: Teach a lesson that is not part of any curriculum that we teach. I am thinking of breaking this up by quarters. I may poll the kids to help with quarters 3 and 4.
- Quarter 1: Sequences--I will likely use problems from this book Finite Sequences and have kids develop formulas ANY WAY THEY SEE FIT for figurate numbers or Tower of Hanoi sequences and will teach the method of finite differences and possibly Proof by induction.
- Quarter 2: Probability--this is the one thing we do not have enough time for in our curriculum and I know we can spend a ton of time on this.
- Have students blog once per week. There will not be tests or quizzes in this class, so this will be a major part of their grade...I will take the best one and post it each week as a guest blog in my blog...this came to me in my sleep...I can't wait!
I think the best part of it is that I either have taught all of the students in the course or know them from Mu Alpha Theta, my math club. I am really looking forward to this class!
Follow me on Pinterest to see some of the pins for High School math lessons that I will try to incorporate into this class.
I am going to try to cook more this summer. Here is something I had when we went to a tapas restaurant in Missouri last week...Baked Goat Cheese in tomato sauce...I found this recipe and recreated it. To make it even easier, I would just use your favorite tomato sauce rather than making your own. It was definitely well liked in the family!
Any ideas for a problem solving class? Please post below :)