Rigid Transformation Unit and Superhero Transformation Project

I’ll admit, I was really nervous about teaching Transformations in Honors Geometry. It was a topic I didn’t remember learning myself and I had never taught it before. I luckily had the #MTBoS and especially Michele Torres (@Teachmathtorr).

Lots of people suggested using things like patty paper and Miras to help learn the different transformations. Unfortunately, I do not have access to those and I’m trying to not buy a lot of things this year for my room, so I hope to one day be able to use those. Instead, I did a lot more Desmos than I ever thought I would! If you haven’t seen her Geometry Desmos Activity document yet, be prepared to blow your mind here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1m82reYFkQZtjnptTWo0_G0k6Kmbc7jjo-OFjT3l0wMY/edit?usp=drive_open&ouid=104053001916447058622

I also loved the advice to focus on points transforming instead of the entire shape – it really helped my students who were having trouble visualizing the transformations.

We started with a Polygraph. I’ve noticed that in an honors class, I don’t get too many that get it wrong when they’re trying to find the graph. Instead, they just use a ton of questions. I challenged them to try to use the least amount of questions.

We also started off with some Des-Patterns.

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After learning all the transformations, I think my learners would agree that this Multiple Transformations Check Desmos activity made the biggest impact. I had them work in pairs and had them do the worksheet first and then check with Desmos. This was really a turning point for the class. A lot that thought they didn’t know were able to confirm that they really did, and it was also much more apparent to them if a transformation was off than when they did it on paper. My struggle sometimes with having students check in Desmos is that when I try to project the summary, the names have to get so small as I zoom out so I can fit everyone. Sometimes I forget that working in pairs not only helps them learn and have awesome math conversations but also just makes them have fewer names to look for.

I somehow ended up with three free days before Fall Break and they had already taken a quiz over transformations. I wasn’t ready to start a new unit (congruent triangles) right before a two-week break. I had remembered Mandi Tolen’s Global Math Department Presentation and thought to look for anything she shared. She did not let me down.

I modified her assignment a bit. Here’s what I did:

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This was a blast for the learners to work on and for me to grade. My biggest advice is to encourage them to make a plan for their story first. A lot of them spent the entire first day just making their superhero and other images. Even though that really brings the project to a higher level, it also made them have to work on it outside of class and that was never my intention. Also, I learned that demonstrating some of the shape and arrange and grouping tools to the whole class at once isn’t good enough. Instead, make an expert at each group and have them be the ones to ask after that. Also, next year I would like to add a peer review component. I hope that will save some of the ones that decided to wait until the last minute or not do it at all. Any advice on what to do when you’re giving 3 days and nothing is getting done by one or two students? I don’t want to be too hover-y, but I also had my smiles turn to frowns a few times when I had to give a couple learners 3/35…

This twitter thread below has a bunch of pictures from my projects. These weren’t all 100%s and I only included one page of the comics, but I just loved how they were able to show their understanding in a cool creative way that most of them are really proud of.

La créativité de mes élèves m’impressionne!

Circles Intro Desmos Polygraph

In my Honors Math II class I frequently am saying (both to my colleagues and my students) that we have so so so many topics to cover. It leads to a lot of boring days, in my opinion, of notes-practice-notes-practice-notes-practice blah blah blah. My learners don’t really complain – most have been in the honors track for a while and that’s kind of how it’s always gone for them. I do switch up how they practice and review and have done my fair share of discovery and VNPS activities, so I shouldn’t say it’s all the same. But we’re now on our last unit of the semester and it’s all about circles. The vocabulary that starts off this unit can be a bit overwhelming and we were starting this coming off two days of MAP testing and lost a day of the unit to a snow day, so I really wanted something engaging and meaningful that wouldn’t burn a lot of time. After asking the #MTBoS, I answered my own question with doing a Demos Polygraph activity. I edited one I had found from Burt Dixon to fit my introduction vocab a little better. Here it is:

https://teacher.desmos.com/polygraph/custom/5bfc6af09666cb74c78c477d

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It went really well! The kids really enjoyed it and were fully into it the whole time. I happened to end up with my evaluator in my room during it and she was really impressed, too. After the class was getting to the point where most were winning in 2-4 questions, I had them all draw a circle so we could put some of the things they noticed into formal vocabulary. So not only did I plan an engaging lesson, but I also didn’t skip the close! The best part was that my learners and I can now reference the Polygraph activity as we’re learning more things about circles. 🙂

I also got some other ideas from the #MTBoS about other discovery tools for circles that I would definitely do if I had more time. Check out my post on Twitter to see them.

Et encore, j’adore Desmos.

Desmos Card Sort Is More Than Just Technology for Technology’s Sake

I just had my first formal observation and it was scheduled for last period on day 2/2 of factoring by grouping (polynomials with four terms). I was a little stressed when I found out about the observation.

Luckily the #MTBoS is the best and Meg @mathymeg07 and Sarah @mathequalslove gave me great ideas that helped me de-stress. I ended up settling on a Desmos card sort for practice, mainly because my evaluator has already said how impressed she is with my technology use. I would just make a sort where the students would match a polynomials with its factors (3 cards for each set). That led me to tweet about how it was a perfect example of technology for technology’s sake, which made me feel bad but my plans were due the day before already (even though I had just been assigned the observation).

But then I was thinking about it…and it really isn’t just technology for technology’s sake. Using the Desmos card sort gave me and the students way more information than a regular old worksheet. Ok well for the students they got confirmation that their answers could be correct if they were on the screen (which is not much more than me just giving a scrambled answer key or something). But also they gained engagement. There’s something about being on the Chromebooks that is just 10x more engaging than a worksheet. Like, seriously, in all of my classes there wasn’t one time where I caught a group on something they weren’t supposed to be on. Maybe I’m just bad at catching it, but I’m gonna go with they were engaged. And no, my classes are not perfect little angels who just do whatever I ask them. But the pairs that were just sitting there doing nothing were quickly caught and re-engaged (read on for how).

Also, I gained so much more with the card sort than I would have with just a worksheet. Students were in pairs and I had them make their names both of their first names together so I could manage better. I walked around with my iPad showing the dashboard, and I was able to see their work in real time! No more making rounds around the room and not finding out until 2 minutes before ending that a group did everything wrong. No more letting a group wait there for 10 minutes because they finished early (or just weren’t working) and just didn’t say anything!

I wish I had taken a screenshot in the middle of the class (this is just the first four groups from a class that had already finished) but, for instance, I could see right away that the Stefan Banach pair had a mismatch and could go over to them as soon as I was available before they made more mistakes like that. I could also see, for instance, that Diego and Kurt were ready for some extension questions and challenges since they were done earlier. Or I could use this to see that Mary’s pair needed someone from Diego’s pair to help them out since they were stuck on that screen for a while.

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Also, it was pretty easy to make. I made an 8 question Kuta worksheet, made sure none of the factors were the same but that there were some similar ones, and then typed them in. I think it took me half an hour while I watched TV to make.

So yeah, I wanted to use Desmos to impress my assistant principal. But really, in the end, I did what I think helped my students and me have the best practice for this topic.

Here’s the links to the card sorts that I’ve done like this:

Factor by Grouping: https://teacher.desmos.com/activitybuilder/custom/581e0a5a39d984e1059501f3

Factor quadratic trinomials: https://teacher.desmos.com/activitybuilder/custom/5812d0b1b9d4312e2ae3f184

J’adore Desmos et je vais trouver n’importe quelle raison de l’utiliser.