I stole my first investigation of the calendar year from David Cox’s post, and I turned it into this:
The first part of the first page was just a little goal-setting activity, and I’m looking forward to going through all their answers and seeing if they can inform some democratic curriculum design for the rest of the year. Then it was on to the investigation.
David writes that he used this with his son and with his seventh graders, while I’m using it in an 11th grade algebra class. I’m on a mission to build literacy, it’s slow going. But as simple as those initial questions may look, they’re necessary to get kids reading every part of a graph. Also, with the tables, I’m always looking for ways to use a repeated calculation to make kids feel more confident with numbers – even though I could have used excel, I find that these moments of repetition can really build confidence.
Those six learning targets on the first page are the only ones I’ve hit so far in my remedial “Advanced Algebra” classes. Although I’ve woken up a few times panicked at 3 am that this is all I’ve done so far, I am sticking to a resolution I made in August to do “fewer things well” than racing through content. I can say with certainty that students are gaining confidence and deeper understand of big ideas, and the connections between these learning targets are malleable. I’m looking forward to seeing what happens in the spring as we start to move a bit faster through content. This month, it’ll be all sorts of mini-investigations like this one, in which all six SLTs are mixed and matched, requiring students to be more flexible decision makers as they work through an assignment.