“This Was Fun”

I’m teaching AP Computer Science for the first time this year. Our online curriculum doesn’t start for another week or so, so I’m finding filler activities.

Today, we did a widget from code.org on text compression. I worked through the activity with the students and posted my best score for each level; if anyone beat me, they called it out and I posted their higher score. Kids went back and tried to beat each other and me. There was a lot of “Wait, how’d you do that?” – yay for collaborative learning!

At the end, several kids said “This was fun!” and one even asked for more.

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In independent study (Calc BC for a student who did AB last year), we explored the connection between surface area and volume and thoroughly puzzled ourselves. We thought about some questions I’d never thought about before, made guesses, checked our guesses, and spent about 20 minutes just exploring ideas. It was fabulous. I looked at my student at the end and said, “Well, this is what mathematicians do. See an idea, play with it, get puzzled, play some more, and spend six months researching it.” We both had a great time – and she was doing most of the driving.

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