Posts Tagged ‘math’

Rubrics

I found a blog entry on science and math rubrics this morning (link at bottom of page). While I like the descriptive nature of the rubrics, I tend to not like using number scales. I much prefer setting up a table with the descriptions across the top. 
For example, for a lab report, I might say “Student explained procedure in a clear and repeatable manner.” There would be a column for each section of the report I am looking to assess. Along the left hand column would be my assessment milestones. “Goal not achieved and writing unclear,” “Goal not achieved and writing clear,” “Goal achieved and writing unclear,” and “Goal achieved and writing clear” might be sample scoring if I were most concerned with my students writing clearly and achieving the goals I gave them in the assessment descriptions along the top of the rubric. 
It is always helpful for students to see a rubric before they’re graded by one!
I like rubrics similar to THIS, but would have replaced the number categories with their descriptions to avoid using numbers since students can get hung up on what number they got and whether or not that’s an ‘A’. This way you are using more constructivist methods to help your students gain understanding and necessary skills.
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Vectors

I was teaching centripetal acceleration to my 10th grade sister several weeks ago. I used the race car on a banked curve explanation in another blog entry. We got to the end and she said something to the effect of, “Oh, I get it. That makes sense. Except — what’s a vector?”

I had to think for a moment. Outside of the physical science and mathematical world, what is a vector?
Finally I explained it as follows:
You’re having a picnic at the park. Just as you’re about to leave, you realize you don’t have any mustard for your hot dogs. So…you go to the store on your way to the park. Or…you could have just checked the back of the cupboard and realized you had some. Then you can just go straight to the park.
But the main thing is: you still made it to the park, right? So regardless of whether you stop at the store first, or not, you still have a picnic at the park.
My sister’s face lit up as she realized vectors were not the same as triangles (she’s currently in geometry) and she acknowledged that vectors and their resultant are all different ways of expressing the same thing.
Mathematically:
2+3+1=4+2=6