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Know your school community before teaching a modeling lesson

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Susanna Wassill

Joined: 17 Jun 2005
Posts: 2
Location: Terre Haute Indiana

PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2005 7:46 am    Post subject: Know your school community before teaching a modeling lesson Reply with quote

I had developed my first modeling lesson last summer and had intended to teach it at the beginning of the school year. I did teach it, but it wasn't successful because I had switched schools and I began teaching a new student population. I thought that since the school I had been at was considered to be 100% alternative, I could easily teach what I had developed. I used the "Summer Jobs Case Study" MEA. While I had done some pre-introduction techniques by reviewing mean, median, and mode, along with discussion of jobs, employee's production, etc. the modeling lesson did not go well. When I first presented the problem to the students as it was presented to us (we knew we had to read it) they just looked at it. I then read it to them and asked them to follow along. I explained what their job was and how they decided to make their choices was up to them, but they had to justify their reasoning in writing. Very few students did any actual calculating of any type. Most just looked at the data and made their decisions from the data alone. They did justify their conclusion, but when I started asking questions to present possible flaws when there was no actual data to back up their decisions, students started relaying their backgrounds. It is not uncommon for them to quit only to be rehired elsewhere. Students said the boss could simply fire and rehire because there are so many people needing jobs. It's not like the job in question would be that difficult for anyone to learn quickly. Real life came into play. Later I learn that the school's improvement plan was to improve reading skills. That told me that possibly there was too much reading involved in the "Summer Jobs Case Study" and that students who shyed away from reading would go straight to the chart. Without reading the problem through more than once, they did not understand what exactly to do with the data in the chart. I learned that for this school community I have to make the problem connect to their interests. Problems like the Toll Booth or the Suez Canal wouldn't work because it would not relate to them. If the students didn't learn anything real from the lesson, be assured that I learned an extremely important lesson. Know your school community.
Susanna Wassill
West Vigo High School
West Terre Haute, Indiana
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