Of the four instructional frameworks we explored in module B, I chose to look at anchored instruction where students are required to generate sub-questions based on a broader question anchored in a real-world situation.
The school I teach at is named after Rick Hansen; a man who has raised many millions of dollars in the name of spinal cord research. When referring to Rick Hansen, his Man In Motion tour often comes up as it was the worldwide launch of his attempt to create awareness around spinal cord injury. My lesson will develop a driving question around Rick Hansen’s Man In Motion Tour and the curriculum requirements around Cartesian coordinates and linear equations.
Driving Question: How can we explain Rick Hansen’s Man In Motion Tour using math?
Students are given a chance to brainstorm what this question means to them. There is no context to this problem other than the math we have already covered in the class thus far – linear equations have not been studied yet. Once they have had a few minutes to brainstorm, they add their ideas to a shared Google Doc. Students are aware of the requirements of online collaboration and the behavior and accountability that comes with that. Discuss as a class.
Introduce to students the route data that has been acquired from the Rick Hansen School program (in spreadsheet form) of daily mileage traveled, dates traveled and each city that Rick stayed overnight. This brings a new dynamic to the problem as students are now given some context. Ask students to revisit their contributions from the previous step and update their position.
Take students outside to the soccer field where ‘treasure’ has been previously placed throughout the field. In pairs, have students brainstorm effective ways draw a map for their peer to reach this treasure. The aim is to have students begin to work with the x/y plane and Cartesian coordinates. Guide students and ask probing questions as required.
Explore the concept of constant speed and how it can be illustrated by a linear equation.
As a class, explore the PhET simulation:
And speak about how any point on that line (position) can be expressed with some value of x or y. Allow students a chance to play around with the slope and y-intercept. Provide a list of questions students need to answer to better familiarize themselves with the y=mx+b form.
Assign students a country (each country has about 10 stops) that Rick visited during his Man In Motion tour and task students with using linear equations to try and explain his position at any point during a given day. They can assume that he was travelling for eight hours per day.
This should be enough information for them to find his average speed and come up with a linear equation for each day. Students will find that some days were longer than others in regards to distance – ask them why they think this is the case? They could look at elevation changes on certain days etc.
I would love feedback on potential pitfalls or areas of development you may see.