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!

Day 21: Tin Man!

The Tin Men have arrived! This activity was awesome! I couldn’t believe how well it worked. It took a total of about 4 hours and 90% of the students were working that entire time. I used pretty much all of Elissa Miller’s Tin Man stuff. The reflection was homework so I will be reading that tomorrow. I only had six groups in summer school but 4/6 groups got the surface area right (I gave all groups a 5% error because I know the sphere and cone are difficult to wrap) and the other two got more aluminum foil after a point deduction on the project, but they weren’t that far off. One group also needed more time, but finished it after the end of class. It was tough to get to the start of similarity after this – next time I would try to have it all on one day.

J’ai dormi avant de publier ce message. Je me suis fatiguée, je suppose…

Day 20: Volume and Surface Area (and Tin Men)

Today was mostly review on Surface Area and Volume. We did Deal or No Deal review again and I got much better investment from the students than last time. I was just going to do it for an hour but it ended up going another half an hour because the kids just wanted to continue.

After their test, we got started on the Tin Man Project. So far they’re really into it. I was so surprised by how many cardboard objects we got! I meant to take a picture of them all before the students got to them. I was worried since I was really the only one that had brought anything in until today. I didn’t think to send out an all-staff email to see if other teachers could bring in stuff but it turned out fine! Here’s some of their work so far and they will hopefully finish tomorrow:

Il y a encore beaucoup de travail à faire pour ce projet.

Day 19: Volume and Spheres

I love the surface area and volume unit and like Lisa Bejarano, I just wish there was more time for all the cool projects out there! I already had a couple that I knew I would do, but coming across Lisa’s blog post opened up so many more that all seem so awesome. It was hard to choose what to pick. But I decided on doing many 3 Act Tasks – the File Cabinet yesterday, and then today I did Dan Meyer’s You Pour, I Choose and Meatballs. I worked them in the same way that I did the File Cabinet yesterday, so they take a long time, but students are engaged, curious, and working the whole time. I had a bunch of other activities cued up from Lisa’s list but I will have to see if there is maybe time at the end of the semester during final review. I will be doing Elissa Miller’s Tin Man Surface Area Project next class now that we’ve talked about surface area of spheres. I’m very excited to see how that goes!

Funny asides:

  • Apparently when I said “sphere”, a good chunk of the class thought I said “spear”. So they were preparing themselves for “working with spears tomorrow”…
  • I got comments from the class about how I know a lot of guy math teachers that are in my videos. I showed two male teachers, and not my videos. But high schoolers can think what they want…
  • Before doing the Meatballs task, I told them about how I was a terrible cook and always run into problems when I try to cook a real meal. I said that the next video is something I still haven’t learned from and run into this problem too often. Had them guess what kind of problems I could run into making spaghetti and meatballs with marinara sauce. The guesses were hilarious and the cooking stories that came from it were even better.

J’aime que mes étudiants ont un sens de l’humour, même avec un cours d’été.

Day 17: Area Projects and Geometric Probability

Today was very free-form. They took a quiz at the beginning, learned about geometric probability, and then had free time to work for almost two hours. During that time, I expected them to work on one of the two projects I gave and/or study for their test, which will be at the start of the day tomorrow. The two projects are attached below and involve finding the area of a lawn to be fertilized and the area of a house to be painted. I like the house painting one better because it asks some more higher-level thinking questions (but not that high-level) at the end, but many of my students have done it before if they are taking my class for grade replacement so I decided to find another one.

A note about geometric probability – I find this topic so interesting! I guess I wished I taught more about probability and statistics, but I haven’t been able to yet. It’s a short section in this unit and I don’t really have time to go deeper into it, but I had the idea today that I should bring in a dart board and actually calculate out the geometric probability of landing in certain places. It would make it much more real, but I just have to find a dart board. Good thing I have another whole year before I might be teaching it again…

Projects:

Je me suis rendue compte de la folie de mes étudiants quand je les donne le temps libre, mais c’est la folie productive.

Day 16: Wheel of Theodorus and More Area

The Wheels of Theodorus turned out great! I actually only had about half that turned them in today all complete. The other half asked for more time to make their wheels more artsy and creative. I couldn’t say no to that! I’ve realized that I maybe needed to walk the class through drawing the first few triangles so that they saw the whole point of the 1-unit and the direction it has to go, especially with the overlap. Some were thoroughly confused, but I am still seeing good products in the end. I have the pictures of the ones that were turned in and will add more tomorrow when I get the rest.


The rest of the day was pretty boring. Go over new vocab about regular polygons and circles, practice with some examples, more challenging practice, class discussion, blah blah blah. I am missing my word wall, but in the short time span that my students have with the vocab, I’m not sure it would be all that useful. Tomorrow we will do another area project before taking our unit test.

La créativité dans les maths est vraiment source de joie pour moi.