I was frustrated and thrilled today.
I will not whine… too much… about the frustration. For those of you out there who want to know some details, let’s put it this way: when asked to do something, or when I volunteer to do something, I tend to go at it heart and soul, full force. When that effort doesn’t get reciprocal respect (note I’m not talking about reciprocal effort here… just respect)… when I feel like my time and efforts are seen as expendable… I get upset. I put on a grin and I bear it, but not happily.
With that rant over, I can now go to the thrill, which came from having a couple really great classes. My favorite class was my Algebra II class where we were doing exponential functions, and I used a self-created guided worksheet on carbon dating.
I was really pleased with the kinds of questions the students were asking, the mistakes they were making (and correcting), and the aaaah haaaa! moments they had. I could have “taught” carbon dating in 20 minutes: here’s the equation, this is why it should make sense, this is how you apply it. But I loved getting them to the point where they are on the cusp of figuring out the equation for themselves. My students aren’t experts at solving the problems yet. I know if I had taught it traditionally, in 20 minutes, they would be able to solve these problems much better than they can at this moment. But they wouldn’t get things nearly as deeply as they are now. It’s a trade off. And you know what? The time spent was worth it.
I really want to really debrief this lesson soon on this blog. Partly because I thought it went so well and thought it might be useful for others. But partly because it has raised some questions for me about Dan Meyer’s methodology — and its implementation. But for now, I’m going to be content.