Rockets, Day 2

Today was Day 2 of rocket launches, and it went smashingly. Kids were so competitive and so into trying to get the highest or farthest launch. One kid even remarked, “Math is so great!”

My favorite part was when we got back to our classroom and I handed the kids the lab report to fill out. I was planning on walking them through it, step by step, but they started writing furiously before I was even finished passing out the reports, so, I didn’t see the need to interrupt this good thing. I absolutely love to see kids take this kind of initiative. What teacher doesn’t?

*****

In calculus, one of the “big ideas” I try to instill in my kids is clarity in communicating mathematical concepts. “Precision of language,” as Lois Lowry would say. One thing I don’t tolerate is students using the ambiguous pronoun it to refer to a function. I repeatedly say, “What do you mean by it? Which function are you referring to?” Because the accuracy of their answer all depends on their response to that question.

I had a breakthrough moment today when I overheard a girl say, “Oh, the particle’s acceleration is negative there because it’s decreasing.” Her partner quickly questioned, “Wait. What do you mean by ‘it’s’? You mean velocity is decreasing.”

It’s the little things, guys. We’re making progress here.

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