Triangle Centers Algebraically: Completely Student-Paced Using #Desmos AB

Desmos Activities have completely transformed my classroom. Luckily, my school is “bring your own device” so my students have their computers every day in class..

I introduced triangle centers and how they are created geometrically (day 1) and explored vocabulary with my students as much as possible. After students learned what the centroid, orthocenter, and circumcenter were, I wanted to teach them how to find them algebraically (we talked about incenter, but not in an algebraic way) screen-shot-2016-12-13-at-2-49-46-pm

Below are the activities. We did one activity per day. While students were working, I walked around and answered questions all class. Desmos Activity builder really helped differentiate this unit. It also really helped students who were missing school. It was really easy to keep them up to date with what we were doing in class!

 

 

The activities below included all three. They became a little less scaffolded each time.

If a student did not finish an activity during class, the activity became homework. For the first three, every student finished in a 55-minute class. The activities with all three took students a little longer to complete.

I gave my assessment for this unit on Desmos AB and had students find the “best location for a water station” between three different fields on our campus. At the end of the assessment, I asked students how they felt they did and if they thought Desmos was helpful to them. Below are a few responses I received.

 

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Socratic Seminars for Math Review

We are preparing for midterms, and for my Algebra 2 class, I decided to do a Socratic Seminar to review the all of the material. Instead of giving my students a list of topics that would be on the midterm, they created their own list by looking through their notes and tests and discussing the past semester. screen-shot-2016-12-10-at-11-31-42-am

My students were set up into two circles. Students on the inside circle had to discuss the questions prompted on the board. All students on the inside circle had to talk once before anyone else in the circle could speak again. This had all students looking through their notes and past test and participating in the review. They were coming up with what was important anscreen-shot-2016-12-10-at-11-32-00-amd narrowed down the topics that they struggled with the most. I added in a few questions in verbally when I felt they got stuck or could push the topic further.

Being able to verbalize the concepts they needed to know and the concepts they needed to work was extremely helpful for my students.

While the inside circle was discussing the prompted questions, the screen-shot-2016-12-10-at-11-32-58-amoutside circle was discussing the questions on a back channel chat. They were writing down the topics that they needed to know/work-on and went into more detail about the concepts than the inner circle.

For backchanneling, I have used

They both work really well and are extremely teacher/student friendly.

For this seminar, I used Today’s Meet. If you would like to embed your backchannel into your class page, it is extremely easy. By clicking class tooscreen-shot-2016-12-10-at-11-33-37-amls at the bottom of your chat, it allows you embed the live stream or transcript to your page.

This back channel chat was embedded “live stream” into their Haiku page, so it was easy to get to and they can refer back to it to study.

screen-shot-2016-12-10-at-11-31-33-amFor this seminar, I had students switch circles for every chapter. I asked the same questions for each chapter. I had questions appear one at a time.

I love doing Socratic seminars in my classes.  Talking about concepts and explaining them to their peers really helps students truly understand the concept. This activity also had them reflect on everything they learned this year. I think reflecting on their past test, instead of just looking at them, was also really beneficial.

A video of my seminar can be found here. 

I would love to hear if you have any suggestions or ways to improve and use Socratic Seminars. I also love trying new back channeling sites, if you have tried one that works well I would love to hear about it!