In Geometry this year we began our first unit with constructions to frame our work and build the course from there. This was the first time I’d ever don constructions, let alone in class. Next time will be a trillion times easier for sure.
We began with a quick review of how to use compasses, straight edges and protractors because I don’t know the last time students worked with them.
I relied heavily on Juile’s Construction booklet for notes to add to our INBs and used the directions and worksheets from Math Open Reference. We only did constructions through creating perpendicular and parallel lines – we didn’t inscribe any triangles or hexagons in circles yet.
We ended our unit with Cheesemonkey’s Construction Castles assignment as an assessment. Good news, it was a great way to assess what students know about constructions. Bad news: Students showed they hadn’t mastered constructions -the average grade on the assignment was a failing grade….. After being graded, students were allowed to make up and improve their work for over two weeks, but only two students did so.
Even with that academic hurdle, we were still able to have productive conversations about the work and why some wouldn’t receive full credit before we finished the project. While that was helpful for some, that conversation should’ve happened before work began – which now with pictures can happen next year.
We didn’t get to use Euclid the Game in this unit because our Castles took too much class time, but I’ll use it as a review for Semester 1 and for the AZMERIT in May.
- Students conquered new and challenging things.
- Construction Castles was a good assessment of what students knew and how constructions relate to one another.
- Some of the other assessments used also required students to build off previous skills and apply them to new situations. In particular, the assessments at the beginning of the unit and on constructing a perpendicular bisector were strongest to assess student mastery.
Grows for 16-17:
- First, review this edited unit for ideas to improve
- Scaffold Construction Castles – give students daily targets to achieve instead of big goals. This was one of their first experiences with anything this open and it needed more structure for them to eventually be successful
- Don’t start the year with this unit. We had students change schedules after MAP testing so they were placed in the correct math course. While great for students, it meant that a lot of students came into class in the middle of the unit. It was incredibly challenging to continue the unit where everything was built on top of the previous skill. Consider a logic unit to begin the next year – its still relevant but not necessarily content. Plus, this is coming back to bite me in the butt now.
- “Copy what I do” isn’t a good way to make this unit work….don’t do that again because literally no one understands what they were doing – they were just doing. I’m pretty certain that this is going to come back and bite us later
- Add in technology before the end (and don’t drop it when things get rough)
- Intentionally separate this unit from parallel and perpendicular lines. It is already in practice, so let’s make it a reality.