There was a fight in my class today.
Okay so maybe it was just an argument.
Okay so maybe it was an animated discussion between students about how to solve an equation.
Okay so maybe it wasn’t clickbait but a sensationalized first line.
Today I wrote 8 one-step equations (like 8x = 64 ) on the board and asked the students to work in the notebooks by doing the following:
- What is the variable?
- What is happening to the variable?
- How do we undo what is happening to the variable?
- Show the work
Then once they had a solution they could come up to the board and write on one. (I also asked them not to be greedy, there were more students than problems and some of want to do all of them on the board.) After solutions had been written for all of the problems I asked them who had done what and had them give an explanation to the class of their work. I know there was a lot of structure that I was imposing on them with the 4 questions but so far it seems to be necessary. When I don’t impose the requirement many of them simply say “x=5” or “I don’t know”. So even though it may be “more helpful” than I would like to be philosophically it does seem to be helping.
So it was during this activity that the “fight” happened. A group of at least two (possible more) students were arguing (not unkindly) about how to solve one of the problems on the board. I was very pleased with this.
I’m still working on getting them to be self-motivated when they are solving problems in groups. I think part of my issue is that I keep putting too many problems on in-class tasks even when I think I’ve already put less. Instead of 8 I need to put 4. Or maybe 2. Not only is it overwhelming by students but then we can’t have as cohesive of a class discussion in large group.
Okay. I could write more but I’m hungry and tired and I’m leaving my classroom now.
Half day tomorrow. Tropical storm is headed our way.