Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Engage NY Algebra: A Graphing Story Interactive Tool for Review

For Module 1 Lesson 5.  The tool below is embedded, so you can interact directly from this page.  Full size version available here.

We are going to have our first test on lessons 1-5, so this is a good time to start reviewing and continue to make connections between concepts.  The introductory example of lesson 5 is below:

This context isn't as easy to visualize as an elevation-vs-time graph.  I'm hoping the activity described in this post (below) using the applet above will help students generate their own graphs for example 1.  I also want to continue to incorporate strategies to support English Language Learners since the Engage NY curriculum is heavy on the reading.  For this lesson I want to use Example 1 to incorporate a structured opportunity to write.  When students share their writing with a partner we are also incorporating a structured opportunity for all students to speak.  Below is a list of directions for students, and some description for how I see this lesson playing out in my class.

1.  Check the box for graphing story A. Then move slider t from 0 to 50. Using what you know about graphing stories, write this story on your paper. What could the units represent for the x and y-axis?  (Note: We'll use this Google Doc for our writing)

Students will see the graph below

and they will write in the yellow highlighted space provided on the Google Doc

2.  Turn off Story A and reset the time. Now check the box for graphing story B. Move the slider from 0 to 50, and write the story on your paper (or on Google Doc).

Students will see the graph below and write the story on their paper.

3.  Reset the time and go through the process again with both stories checked and the labels revealed. Write a new story on your paper using the new information. 

Students will see the graph below.

Students will have time to reinterpret their story within a new context, and then share their interpretation with a partner.  

4.  How does this story compare with your original stories?

The last part of the writing activity will be to help students reflect on the difference between their assumptions of what the information represented and the true story.  

A powerful consequence of using an interactive visual is that you can continue to use the tool to review old information and connect this understanding as you learn new information.  When reviewing for the test I can see pulling up this applet and asking a different set of questions.  (When is Earl moving away from his door?  What does it mean when Earl's graph has a positive slope?  What are the coordinates of the point of intersection when Maya and Earl first meet? etc.)

Note: This lesson is part of one of the summer work projects at my school, and includes making a few interactive lessons for our Algebra class.  This is a new skill for myself, and I'd appreciate feedback if you have experience or thoughts in the area of interactive lessons.  My district is piloting the Engage NY curriculum for the first time next year.  We are also in the Google Domain and will have access to Google Classroom for the first time, in a one-to-one environment.  We'll primarily use Google Docs and other Google Apps for Education as we learn how to meaningfully incorporate technology into our math classes. 

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