Starting it up!

Tomorrow is the big day—first day of school. I know some of you after-Labor-day-starting folks probably think that’s pretty weird. But here in New Mexico we get the ball rolling in mid-August. I’m excited to:

  • Do a “Mad Lib” to start my year-long theme for AB Calculus, which is that we’re the analysis department of a company that makes sporks. (Did you know that a box of 1000 sporks only costs about $10?!) Then we’ll jump right into that role and do a few realistic problems that also secretly make them review their Precal. I did this opening last year too. It’s not perfect, but I like it pretty well.
  • Ride my bike down the sidewalk (and let the kids ride too) in Trig/Precal to compare number of revolutions of the wheel to linear distance traveled. This one’s new for me. No video (sorry to Dan Meyer fans), we’ll actually do it live. The other thing I’m going to try is to get the kids to formulate the questions. Not sure if that’ll work on the first day, but I want to set the tone of investigative thinking right off. I’m sure they’ll need hints/guidance, but I think that the basic questions aren’t that hard to come up with. I really wanted to avoid handing out a step-by-step worksheet, even with open-ended questions, and instead have them generate the worksheet.
  • Use a version of a problem from Bowen Kerins and Darryl Yong’s course for teachers at PCMI (area of a parallelogram from its coordinates) to open my Multivariable Calculus class.
  • And start a one-on-one course in differential equations and linear algebra…which will rock.

Of course not every day will be as fun as that. There will be lots of need for getting the basics down. But I really want to hold myself to doing as much investigation, group work, discussion, sharing student work, and open-ended problems as I can manage.

Good luck to everyone else starting soon!

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