Friday, November 18, 2011

Pilot Recap, Week 13: Winding down

We're making our way toward the end of the course now.  Next week we have our last unit test.  After Thanksgiving, we plan to test a few additional lessons that hadn't made their way into the current units yet but will in the future.  The last week, we have a big project planned to pull the entire course together.  It will be an in-class, open-ended problem that students solve together as a group.  They will also have an individual component to turn in to ensure accountability.

I was out of town for AMATYC last week and sick at the beginning of this week, so there's less to report.  Still, it was a good week.  We explored viral marketing with students, building exponential growth models and exploring social networking.  The statistics are amazing in terms of how much time is spent worldwide on social sites.  A few years ago, it was a fun past time.  Now, it's a major means of marketing and sales for companies.  Analyzing that was interesting mathematically and context-wise.  Students definitely liked discussing it.

Today we talked about order of magnitude, pH, and the Richter scale.  It was really interesting showing students how some contexts have really large and really small numbers in them simultaneously.  Making sense of them and graphing them can be very difficult.  Going to new scales based on order of magnitude makes the process accessible.  It's interesting to show students the human side of mathematics, how we take numeric truths and use techniques to make them easier to deal with.

Heather and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.  A great deal of learning occurred this semester for our students and us.  We've got lots of ideas for the spring to make things even better in terms of grading, testing, and helping them adapt to the level of work.  The content and lessons have really worked well and those that haven't are in the process of revision.  I believe we'll get this course to an even better place than it already is, which is pretty good so far. 

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