Quadrilaterals: The Queens of Geometry

Looking for a way to spice up your teaching and take a break from notes?  Challenge your students to question, research, and become experts on a topic to present in front of the class.

As a high school special education teacher co-teaching Geometry, I have noticed that some students are scared of the class because they think this is a “different math”.  By tapping into their prior knowledge and making connections, the new concepts will be less frightening for them.  This lesson allows students to extend their knowledge of quadrilaterals through inquiry-based research.

I have previously taught these shapes with guided notes and direct instruction.  Looking through a new teaching lens, I chose to incorporate a “Maker mindset” with technology.  It is our job as educators to incorporate technology as we see appropriate while keeping in mind that it is just a tool, not the magic solution (Koehler and Mishra, 2009).

TPACK stands for technological, pedagogical, and content knowledge.  PCK goes deeper than knowing the content or way we teach it.  It “requires the transformation of content in ways that make it intellectually accessible to students” (2009).  This framework is important for educators to use when determining which technology to use in lessons to enhance their students’ learning.

TPACK allows teachers to make these tough decisions based on the what (content), the how (pedagogy), and the tool (technology) used in the lesson.  I used TPACK in changing this lesson from direct instruction to inquiry and discovery learning with technology.

Tpack

The Content: Understanding the properties of quadrilaterals and the relationships between them.

The Pedagogy:  Students will work alone and together.  They will question, discuss, research, create, and present.  They will gain new information and synthesize it into something that makes sense.

The Technology:  Chromebooks will be used to create the Haiku Deck presentations.

I chose Haiku Deck as a challenge for students to work with something new.  Exploring new technologies and expressing their learning is what the 21st century learners are all about.  Students will be engaged with the technology, the challenge, and the creation.

Why will the learning stick?

  • Students are researching their own questions and ideas. As a group they determine what is important and research from there.  They own their learning and become invested in the challenge.
  • The gesture (or dance move) will not just be something fun and memorable. It will be a reference for our class to use when learning the theorems later on.
  • The graphic organizer will take some deep thought to piece together relationships and make connections. Students have to “make sense” of the new information together.  This will be a great guide for them to transfer the new knowledge to proofs.

Do not be afraid!  I encourage you to re-vamp your lesson plans and think about ways to make the learning deep and meaningful.  We all want our students to be successful, but what can we change to make the learning stick?

Koehler, M.J., & Mishra, P. (2009). Too cool for school? No way! Learning and leading with technology. Link to article: “Too Cool for School” EJ839143

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