I’ve been VERY pleased this week with my classes and with carrying out my new year’s resolution about shifting my classes. In my AP Stats class we worked on a fun project from the Mathalicious crew examining Simpson’s Paradox. The kids were in small groups working pretty well together. They did not need me to talk much (remember – it’s important for teachers to be able to become invisible!) and I was able to listen in on some pretty great conversations. We looked at three years of batting information about Derek Jeter and David Justice and saw that Justice had a higher batting average each of the three years but a lower cumulative percentage for those three years. The activity starts off with a fun parlor game. I had six groups in my room. Three of them received year-by-year data and the other three received cumulative data. I asked them to conclude who was the better batter and the predictable vote of 3 to 3 happened in one class, the other class went 4 – 2 for reasons I could not decode. Then we worked our way in to a conversation about school admissions and looked for evidence of discrimination. It’s a great activity that they designed. We also watched a pretty interesting TED talk by Dan Ariely. It’s been a good couple of days and we close out the week with another Mathalicious activity.
I am typing this while my quiet morning Calculus BC class works on the second of my in-class problem sets. Again, they are silently working and I have decided not to fight against this as long as they are willing to share when we look back at the work.
Next week it is back to the text for my AP Stats class, but I feel that this week has been an important breather for them AND an important reminder that they don’t need to hear my voice all the time. they’ve been doing fine listening and talking to each other.