proofs Pythagorean theorem similar triangles

Pythagorean Triples Part 2: Teacher Learning

If you are not careful, teaching can become very boring, very quickly. Most teachers of specialized areas teach the same content arranged in the same manner numerous times throughout a career. It is no wonder teachers are constantly warned of burnout. Opening up space for student initiative serves a two-fold purpose:

First, the extra freedom allows students to create significance in memorable ways.
Second, the sheer variety of student queries can raise questions for teachers.

PBL Pythagorean theorem similar triangles tasks trigonometry

Trigonometric Mini Golf

Christmas time brings immense stress for math teachers, at least in my division and province. As the days dwindle away, teachers begin to get a more accurate picture of how much they must cover before semester’s end. Once again, I found myself in this position with my Grade 10 Foundations and Pre-calculus class. (Saskatchewan Curriculum) My original plans called for 20 teaching days to adequately cover, in my opinion, the topics of trigonometry and systems of linear equations. Of course, by the time I sat down to calculate this I only had 11 remaining.
In previous years I would have panicked and switched into jam-packed lectures to “cover” all the content. This year I decided to re-think that approach. I wanted to find a project or anchor activity that could facilitate a wide swath of outcomes and motivate a high level of learning so close to holidays. I tried several creations, but settled on this one for its native curiosity and deep flexibility.