The last couple of weeks have been dedicated to the semester project for MTH 495. I chose to take part in a group project with Becky, Danielle, and Dr. Paul Yu that is studying using technology in the classroom. Are students more engaged? Does it allow students to learn more about the given topic? Would students rather be a part of a lesson involving technology or one without? These are just a few of the questions we asked ourselves throughout the duration of the project. We were fortunate enough to team up with a Geometry teacher at Jenison High School. We have her the flexibility of picking exactly the concepts that we would cover in our technology lesson. The class was working on proportions and equivalent ratios, so we went in the day before the quiz to have a “review day” with the students.
We immediately started to plan once we were informed what we would be teaching. It was a struggle at first to come up with ideas that had students working with technology throughout the entire lesson. None of us, (except for Dr. Yu) had much experience with using technology in the classroom. After some exploration on GeoGebratube.org we discovered a student worksheet applet that was a Pantograph. A pantograph allows you to drag one point to draw a figure, and then is enlarged by the pantograph. We made our first draft of the lesson plan, and then had many meetings revising it to make it as good as possible trying to anticipate different scenarios that could occur. The students would have access to Chromebooks, so we decided the easiest way to give the students all the information they would need for the lesson would be to create a Weebly that had tabs for each part of lesson. The Weebly for this particular lesson can be found at gvsujenison.weebly.com where there are multiple tabs to gain access to the launch, exploration, and reflection pieces of the lesson.
The format of the teaching was that I would teach first hour, take an hour to reflect, and then Becky teach third hour with the revisions made during our reflection time. I believe that the lesson I taught went well overall. The group of students I had would not engage in much conversation throughout. I think this had to do with being first hour, and a complete stranger was conducting the lesson. The cooperating teacher Jill says that is a normal day with those students, just sit and stare. Even though the students were quiet, I could tell by what I did get out of them that they knew there stuff. It wasn’t till the last portion of the lesson that they got really engaged. I decided to have every two set of rows change the sliders on the geogebra worksheet and then convince their partners whether or not the two shapes were still similar. It was great to see the reactions of the students after they measured the corresponding parts to find they were not similar in some cases in which by looking visually, the two shapes looked similar. After the lesson was concluded, I had students fill out an exit slip. They were asked to answer 5 questions.
- What are two things you learned today?
- What did you like about the lesson?
- What did you dislike about the lesson?
- What could have been done differently?
- Do you prefer lessons with or without use of technology?
An overall consensus, this group was very much so in to the idea of having technology based lessons. Through out the lesson I would ask checkpoint questions that told me whether or not they understood a certain topic. At the end of the lesson when we summarized what we learned, students really responded well by demonstrating they now understood the concept of proportions/similarity. I was happy with the results.
During the reflection time, we discussed some of the modifications that should be made from my lesson to Becky’s. Some of these included:
- Use the terms magnitude instead of scale factor because this is what the students are familiar with
- Utilize the board to write definitions and show things on the figures. I did not do this during my lesson. Remember, the board should be a log of what happens throughout a lesson. (Teaching Gap)
- Instead of saying “Convince your partner your figure is similar” say “Use your CALCULATIONS/MEASUREMENTS to convince your partner…” this way students don’t just say looks similar and the move on to a different topic of conversation.
- Have students move their desks together for the duration of class versus having students move during moments of collaboration.
Becky utilized all of these modifications and it worked wonderfully. The only parts of her lesson I would change would be time management. There were times where too much time was spent on a specific part of lessons and students got bored of the task at hand. I would also close/summarize throughout lesson verse just stopping and moving on.
It was interesting to see that there were more students in this class that did not like the technology in the lesson. They recommended not using technology the entire time, and to have more things to do throughout lesson. Which gave mixed feelings for this particular class verse the generally unanimous love for technology during first hour.
The next step in the project is to collaborate and write an article displaying our lesson and results to hopefully be published.