The paths to "Eureka" moments: Teaching Mathematics in Secondary Education

Posts tagged ‘Observations’

Extra-curricular Reflection #3

Softball Game

Walking up to the stands, I heard my name “Look, its Ms. Becker”, “Hi Ms. Becker!” I had talked with several of my math students about their softball games and determined to come see the recreational department teams play. It was great to see their enthusiasm for the game, their encouragement towards each

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other, and analyze the positions they played. I was surprised to see one student, typically distracted in my algebra class, pitch the entire second round of innings. She was focused, methodical, and very talented. She struck out many batters and ended up winning the game for her team. She did not waver under pressure and threw few balls, walking no one while I watched.

As I watched her from behind the fence, I thought, “Well, that’s it. Now I will have to expect more out of her in class.” It is interesting how an outside event affected my view of this student. Now that I knew she was capable of intense focus and drive, I felt I could use softball, or the dynamics of the game, to inspire focus and motivation in algebra. There are many aspects of math that can be applied to baseball/softball. In this way, I hope to incorporate student interest in my math lessons.

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Extra-curricular Reflection #2

Teachers versus Students Volleyball

The tension built as we walked out on the court. Our adversaries were warming up with their traditional drills, their uniforms and knee pads giving them the professional edge over our mismatched bare-kneed team of teachers and interns. As we began playing, our objective was obvious- get the ball over the net. Out opponents however, as an experienced team, worked to touch the ball three times before sending it flying in our direction. While we were inexperienced and sloppy, our strategy began paying off as we kept pace with the skilled middle school girls’ team. It was teachers versus students, and it was close. Our simple but effective strategy won out in the end as the teachers won, beating the students by 7 in the last game.

images (1)This experience was awesome. At first I was nervous as I was thought dressing down would make me “less of a teacher” in the mind of my students. Instead, it seemed to humanize me to my students, showing them I was competitive and enjoyed athletics. Students and principal cheered together as both teams focused on the little white ball flying back and forth across the court. In the end, the teachers won. I didn’t like this outcome as I thought it would probably be best to let students win, since teachers had also won in the basketball game. However, the students took it well and everyone seemed to have a good time.