Thinking about the Index Laws

So to kick things off, I have just a small example of something I did with my class today.  The previous lesson we had investigated the first three index laws by writing out the expansions of everything, then seeing if we could find a “shortcut” way of doing the question.  Most of them could see the pattern fairly quickly.

One of the challenges with this particular class though is they can be inconsistent and indiscriminant users of rules.  In other words they don’t always think about what they’re doing. (What, you mean that’s only my class that does that?!)

In order to get them to think about what circumstances these “shortcuts” work for, I had them do a little true false quiz.  They had to identify when they could apply each index law and how to correctly apply it.

It was an interesting exercise.  Some raced through with little difficulty, and got it pretty much all correct.  Some raced through without thinking and got an awful lot wrong.  Some needed a long time, but then did well, others took ages but weren’t terribly successful and clearly need more help.

Now to try and meet all their needs next lesson…!

Feel free to use the file below if it’s of any use to you.

Positive Indices True False

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A beginning

So, I can be a bit of a perfectionist.  Sometimes I don’t like doing something unless I do it really well.  So whilst I’ve thought about doing this for a while, I’ve never quite made it to the point of action because I haven’t thought of a catchy pseudonym, or blog title, or idea for a blog post.

Who knows why really, but this evening I’ve decided just to jump right in.  

The title I ended up choosing for this blog reflects the question that often gets asked of me in the classroom… “Will this be on the test?” Of course, the premise behind the question is if the answer is yes, I will just try to memorise whatever is in front of me, and if not, I can just switch off and not really pay attention.  I get very little satisfaction where that’s the modus operandi of my students.  

The purpose of this blog for me is to post about some of my attempts to do things in the classroom that make kids care about maths, that make them get engrossed in their learning, that make them understand (no, I mean really UNDERSTAND) concepts and relationships between them, and that make them want to learn more.  It’s all about me attempting to get better at teaching, little by little.

It’s taken me a little while to realise that getting better at teaching won’t happen by just creating that one perfect worksheet that can be used forever more.  It’s about providing the right kind of learning opportunities at the right time.  Sometimes the pace of getting better frustrates me.