Monday, January 5, 2015

Solving Real-Life Problems: Baseball Jerseys

I recently did the lesson Solving Real-Life Problems:  Baseball Jerseys with my CP Algebra 1 9th grade students.  Click on the link to take a look at that lesson.

My Timeline:

Monday:  For the last 15 minutes of class I gave the students a copy of the Baseball Jersey problem and a blank piece of computer paper to do their work then emphasized the importance of doing their own work.  The students handed in the paper before the end of class.
That evening I looked at each students work, attached a copy of the Suggested Questions and Prompts (I cut off the common issues) and highlighted the questions that I wanted each individual student to focus on.  I created heterogeneous groups of 2 or 3 students based on their work.

Tuesday:  At the beginning of class I gave each student their work back from the previous class with the attached questions and another piece of blank computer paper.  I instructed students to write all of their work on the new piece of paper.  The students were given about 10 minutes of quiet time to work on this.
Next, I asked students to get into the groups I created and come up with a solution to the problem.  Students needed to create one poster per group that showed the groups common work and answer.
That evening I looked over each poster and decided which ones would be presented in the class the next day and what order based on the work.

Wednesday:  Class started with the students presented the posters that I picked with me asking probing question to help move them along.
I gave the students time in their groups to look over the sample student work that was given in the lesson and we discussed as a class what we noticed for each sample solution.

Thursday:  I created another problem similar to the baseball jersey problem and asked students to solve this.  I used it as an assessment and a way to see their growth with this topic because of the lesson.


The Results:


For the pretest:  34 students Not Yet Proficient, 3 students Proficient, 0 students Advanced

For the post-test:  8 students Not Yet Proficient, 13 students Proficient, 16 students Advanced

My Thoughts and Other Ramblings:

Quite a few of the students were very vocal about not liking this activity.  They wanted me to just give them the answer or at least tell them how to do the problem.  I always doubt myself when they do this.  I suppose this is because I'm out-numbered.  But as you can see from the results, this works.  A little productive struggle is a good thing.  

I've been made aware of this site before but didn't think too much about it.  But then I was invited to attend a three-day conference at our IU about that website.  Okay, I'll bite.

We met back in October for two days and the instructors took us through the two types of lessons available on the website: Problem-Solving and Concept Development.  Then our homework assignment was to complete one of the lessons with at least one of our classes and report back in December.  Finally, we are to go through another lesson with at least one of classes again and report back.

Here is a screenshot of the pre-test:


I found it interesting that quite a few students didn't bother writing about the price of the jerseys but focused only on the quality of the jerseys.  


This is the post-test that I created:


Nadia wants to rent a bike so she can ride of the D&L trail with her friends.  Bikes for All has an insurance fee of $28 and charges $12 per hour to rent one of their bikes.  Ride with Us charges $16 per hour to rend one of their bikes.  Under what circumstances should Nadia rent from with bike rental company?

Answer:  7 hours

There were about 4 or 5 students who started by creating a table, but didn't go far enough to see when the costs would be the same.  When I spoke to them about this, they said that they only went as far as made sense.  They didn't believe that someone would ride a bike for more than a few hours.

Other students said that there were too many variables to assume.  What if she was paying for 2 people, 3 people, or even 4 people?  They were overwhelmed with too much information so they didn't even start the problem.  As a class we discussed the difference if she paid for only herself or if she paid for herself and a friend.  We discovered that the amount of time for the prices to be equal were the same under both circumstances, the difference was that the price for two people was twice as expensive.




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