I always found it tricky to get students up and out of their seats meaningfully. I know that cooperative learning manuals are full of ways to get students meandering around the classroom, but I always liked to try to make sure that the movement was meaningful as a tool to help them learn the content.
In the past week, I’ve seen two examples of meaningful active learning in the realm of Geometry. And as it happens, both are from my neck of the world.
One comes from Tara Maynard who teaches middle schoolers in Zeeland. Her post on “Dance, Dance, Transversal” plays off the mechanics of Dance, Dance Revolution while putting the students in an experience of having to know the different angle pairs coming out of parallel lines cut by a transversal.
The thing I like about this is that in the end, this is a vocabulary exercise, but Tara has found a way to use movement and activity to add some life to it in a way that fits pretty naturally. This is a nice pairing. And, as she states in her post about the activity, she pairs the students up so that one can watch the feet of the other to make sure they aren’t making mistakes and reinforcing poor understanding. She also includes the file so that your students can play, too!
The other comes from a pre-service teacher at Central Michigan University. Tod Carnish used Twitter to share a nice idea to help students explore geometric transformations. And as much as it hurts for me to say nice things about Central folk (Go Broncos! #RowTheBoat), this seems like a pretty solid idea.
Sticking to the idea that transformations are really just the organized movement of vertices, why not have those movements represented with the students acting as the vertices? Think of the ways that one could use this as an introduction to function notation of the transformations? Characterizing the movement by it’s vertical and horizontal components?
Nice thing about these two fine educators is that they love to share. If you have questions about their work, or want to drop them some props, I’m sure they’d love to hear from you!