Day 23-24: Similarity Day 2 + Trig

Busy day yesterday and wasn’t able to post – I’ll combine yesterday with today:

We finished the similarity unit by talking about perimeter, area, and volume ratios. I started class with an investigation on area and perimeter of similar rectangles. The sheet is downloadable below. I first started with some students giving guesses for how the ratio of perimeters and areas changed with the similarity ratio and If students finished early, I asked extension questions like, “Will this work for all rectangles? Will this work for all shapes? How is the volume ratio affected?”  I liked that students were able to confirm or disprove their guess by this investigation.

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Then, after looking at similar solids we reviewed the similarity unit. I used another trail activity for this. I actually made this when I student taught for an honors geometry class. I still use it because, even though the questions might be more challenging than what’s going to be on the test, the students don’t know that and they still try their best to get through the trail. They all were able to complete it (some with some guidance) in about 45 minutes to an hour instead of the 30 minutes that I had given in student teaching. I still think it’s a great way to review, practice, and challenge the students. It is downloadable below.

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The class ended with a test.

Today, we started with an introduction to trigonometry. I feel like it’s really hard to just give an introduction, though. I got into the ratios and how these are really functions instead of multiplying by a “sin” or something like that. It’s hard to understand the inverse trig functions without having a firm grasp on the fact that these are functions, but then some of my students have never heard of a function before. I don’t remember running into this issue before but it definitely took a little longer to introduce it than normal. I had groups in the class trying to answer some questions about trig properties – Can sine ever be greater than 1? Can cosine ever be greater than 1? Can tangent ever be greater than 1? Can any of the trig functions be less than 0? What about the inverse trig functions? Some students just started by trying to plug in a ton of numbers in their calculator. Eventually, groups realized that they really had to look at the ratios.

When we got into angle of elevation I was so excited to try Kate Nowak’s “Measuring a Really Tall Thing” activity. I had the meter/yard sticks and the students had a member of each group with a clinometer app (the iPhone actually has it automatically in it within the compass app so most of my students were able to get it). I then took them outside and they got to measuring. I only had six meter/yard sticks so I had groups of 2 and 3 and about half the groups were able to do it correctly within half an hour. They then had to help the other groups figure out what was going on. I blame this on not giving enough time for the kids to really figure out what they were doing and also test how the clinometer works.  I was so excited that I just kind of said “go”. Next time, I actually should have them mess around with the clinometer maybe even before we leave the classroom. Overall, I think they saw how this could be applied to find the height of something very tall and were excited to be applying what they learned to something outside (even in the 90 degrees). It was fun and the students were excited, and next time it will be much better because I’ll know how to introduce it better. I really wish I had taken pictures…

Je suis trop occupée maintenant. C’est difficile quelquefois d’écrire le blog.

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Day 22: Similarity

Today was the real start of similarity. Yesterday we got into it a bit at the end but there was too much excitement over the tin men. It wasn’t all that exciting of a day – lots of notes and then practice and then notes and then practice. The roughest part was similarity in right triangles. In the past, I’ve just told them the proportions to set up with the geometric mean like my teachers did with me and then went on with the unit. I thought it would be a good idea to prove this relationship this year…not the best idea. Or probably more likely I just didn’t do the best job of making it work. It just seemed like a bunch of random letters and redrawing and was kind of a mess…I still think proving it would be the best way for the students to truly understand why we have the geometric mean in right triangles with an altitude, but next year I will have to find a better way.

Il y a toujours l’année prochaine!