Learn to be a Teacher part 8

Some time passed since I last posted a post on my experience in school during my Masters (PGDE) and I thought that it is time I do some reflection on one of my lessons and share it with you all. For this one, I won’t be talking about one of those great lessons, but one which helped me find something useful.

The lesson I want to talk about is on graphs of trigonometric functions (sine and cosine). In this lesson, I wanted to present the transformations: stretching and translating. I had a couple of drawings for the students to do in which they would the difference between cos(x), acos(x) and cos(x+a). But to my shock, even if I gave them square paper and explained how to do the graphs tidy and with care, nothing worked as I wanted. There were a couple of them, which had the patience to do things good, but 90% of the class had absolutely horrible drawings. And, as expected, they did not get the difference. Some of them understood, but most of them were completely lost. At some point during the lesson, one of those students considered annoying and a problem child by other teachers said that he is sick of doing all those drawings and that he wants to use his iPad. First I thought that this child was trying to make my life harder and that wanted to start a fight with me. After a minute, I realized that I was the stupid one. THEY ALL HAVE iPADS, why haven’t I used that????!!!!!!!! Or why haven’t I use the computer???!!!!! To his surprise I said: “you are right! Do you know any apps that might do these graphs in your place?”. He was completely shocked, but then he got excited and told me about this app, which he has used in other science classes. I asked everyone if they knew it and almost everyone already knew this app and I asked them to explain how it works. I felt quite ashamed first that I did not know about it, but in the end it worked way better. I have learned about the great app and they have done a couple of great graphs with it. It took another lesson on this topic using this graph for them to be more confident on the topic, but I was happy to see how this good this app was and how much it helped me for that topic.

I don’t want to finish this post without saying a couple of words about this app: Desmos. Probably you think I am way behind, but I had no idea what this was at that point. Here is a small description:

We built the best-in-class HTML5 Desmos graphing calculator, which millions of students around the world use for free. That calculator catches stellar reviews in appstores and from happy users on Twitter. We also create activities on top of that calculator, helping students use a powerful tool to experience all the curiosity, beauty, and sense that math has to offer. Those activities were used so often by so many teachers around the world that we decided to create an Activity Builder, helping every teacher create digital math activities that equal and exceed the activities we create ourselves.

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Here is a small image of something I had used during the lesson:

I would like to know how you use Desmos if you are a student, a teacher or a parent, leave a comment in the box bellow. I am new to this and I would love to find out more about how you use it. Have a great day.  You can find me on Facebook,  Tumblr,  Google+,  Twitter,  Instagram  and  WeHeartIt. I will try to post there as often as possible.

Don’t forget that maths is everywhere! Enjoy! ~LThMath

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