Center Work

This week the students were reviewing for a big district-wide test. Despite our efforts to relate lessons to their innate curiosity or the “real world”, telling them that something “will be on the test” still seems to be the best way to focus them. I suppose it’s a commentary on how deeply the idea of working the system, rather than learning for its own sake, is embedded. Of course, I remember operating that way when I was that age, so I shouldn’t be surprised.

To review, we put each class into three groups and had them work together to solve problems related to finding and simplifying linear equations (from tables, points, and graphs). I spent most of the day working with the groups working on finding an equation from two points. Every group would start by saying (sometimes in unison) “we don’t know how to do this!”. Groups of 8-10 students are hard to keep focused, so I would work an example for them and start working my way around the group helping individually. As soon as someone had that lightbulb moment where it made sense, I’d tell them to teach the person next to them. This would usually snowball nicely, since there were now two or more teachers in the group. Despite my best efforts, I suspect the students are much better at teaching each other than I am… which is fine by me!


About Andrew Farmer

I am a PhD student in Computer Science at the University of Kansas. I'm interested in functional programming languages, compilers, and language transformation tools.
This entry was posted in 2011-2012 GK12, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Center Work

  1. I have to say that despite being completely exhausted by the end of the day…which is normal with this kind of thing…the students were very engaged and truly did very well at working. I love the days you are with us as do the students because your fresh voice and perspective on the topic energizes the students. I know the students are learning from you. I hope this is rewarding for you as well!

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