Yes, winter is still wreaking havoc in the Northeast. We had a big storm come in Wednesday and Thursday. Both days looked like possible snow days. We only ended up with a 2 hour delay on Thursday. Many parents decided to let their kids stay home so my classes were very small. Instead of continuing with my plans we got to dig a little deeper and look at some interesting math.
In AP Calculus, we have a test coming up so we quickly talked about a couple review problems. Then on to the interesting things. We checked out Math Munch quickly, watched Numberphile’s Buffon’s Matches video (since the next day was 3/14), and then somehow our conversation turned to triple integrals. Something like this:
Students had no problem with it! I barely said a word. It was great to pause and just talk about some math.
In Geometry A, (first year of a 2 year sequence for Geometry) we attacked this problem since our next unit is triangle similarity where ratio/proportion is key.
In a class where many students struggle with math and just shut down easily, I was relatively pleased with the math talk that was occurring. (Read: arguing over the correct answer and their method of solution.) We debriefed and showed many ways to solve the problem. This ranged from pictures, to charts, diagrams, verbal, and even some estimation. From individual time, to group work, to debrief this took almost the entire 43 minute shortened block (typically 81 mins). Students remarked how fast class went.
It was great to just do some good math and have great conversations with my students. But yes, I still would have taken the snow day!