Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Wii - Day 6

Today we finished up with the same game that we used the last time we pulled out the Wii, Internal Clock. We wanted to make sure that all of the students who didn't get a chance to play last time (we just ran out of time) were all able to have a remote and try to keep time in their heads. Before we began Chris orally went over what we did last time and had the students answer questions about what operation we were using (subtraction) what the difference was between the negative and positive numbers, and seconds and milliseconds vocabulary. We brought the students up again 4 at a time and had them use the same people that were created last week (all of that same work was already there from the last time we created them all). This time we decided to concentrate on the 2nd of the 4 rounds that the game plays. During the 2nd round each of the 4 players have a different time they are trying to get the closest to so it means 4 different math problems. We put the students name on the board and put the times they were trying to hit and had all of the students write down the same info in their Math copybooks. Then the 4 began playing. At the second round we had this:
Player - Total time - Time recorded
1 16 18:18 2:18 over
2 21 25:81 4:81 over
3 22 30:78 8:78 over
4 20 20:80 :80 over

After the times were posted on the board, Chris asked the questions - Was anybody under time? Was anybody over time? Would that be positive or negative numbers? Who came the closest to the time they were trying to hit? Then the students all had to do the Math problems and tell us how far over they each were from the target time. After we checked a few answers the students were able to finish round 3 and 4 and declare a winner for that group. We switched the group of 4 and began again.
The procedure was the same, but this time the results and the questions we asked were a little different:
Player - Total time - Time recorded
1 16 15.81 .19 under (-)
2 18 18.96 .96 over (+)
3 23 17.15 5.85 under (-)
4 15 17.51 2.51 over(+)

Again, we asked the same questions but added the directions to now put the recorded time in order to closest to target time to furthest away from target time (not making a difference for positive or negative numbers).
Then we asked the students to put the results in order from least to greatest. Now they had to take the negative and positive numbers into account when they placed it in order. This was a bit of a review from the last game we played with them on Big Brain Academy which was popping the balloons in order from least to greatest. Again, we checked a few and moved on to let the students finish the game. We switched out the kids two more times having them take down the numbers for the 2nd round each time and doing the Math. We made only one slight change during the last round which was a bit of a bump in the road. During the last round Chris asked the students to order the numbers not from least to greatest, but from greatest to least. We had 4 different students who said it was harder for them to group them that way then it was to group from least to greatest. After we went around and made sure that we were all together we let the students finish up the round and then have the last groups go. We worked out the Math problems and answered the questions after the 2nd round again. By the time we were finished each of the students had played the game (either this week or last) and they all had at least 15 math problems completed.

A few notes:
1. In an effort to give all the information, today was the first day of our Spring Break. We did have school, but it was only a half day - students out at Noon. So, the group was a little more wound up then usual. Not a surprise for anybody who works with students! All in all they did a good job working the Math problems, but it did take a couple of reminders from Chris that all of the students should be doing the Math work at their desk, not just the people that were playing.

2. We asked the students why they thought it was more difficult to go from greatest to least instead of least to greatest and while we didn't really get a complete answer, a couple of students just said it was easier to start with the negative numbers and move up to the positive ones...

3. One or two of the students made the observation that if you were having a problem with the greatest to least ordering, just do least to greatest and reverse it. This helped some of the confused students, but not all.

In future posts, I will make an effort to see if we can get some screen shots of the games and the math problems that we are completing during the process!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Wii - Day 5

This week Chris and I continued to work off of last week's negative number work with the Wii. On Friday we worked with another game called 30 Great Games Outdoor Fun for the Wii. And yes, while the reviews are not that favorable it did have some redeeming qualities for the classroom. The benchmark we were covering this week was MA.5.A.2.3 - Describe real-world situations using positive and negative integers. The game that we used was called Internal Clock 2. Basically, each person gets a time that they have to count up to. The clock begins counting but after about 5 seconds it goes off and you have to continue to count in your head. When you think you are at the time you push the button. The person closest to the time wins that round. The time is presented in decimal format as seconds, with both tenths and hundredths of seconds. Maybe not the most exciting game around, but the students did like to be able to be faster than the others (and we actually had one student who hit the time dead on). What we did was have them subtract their time from the requested time. The students that hit the button quicker than the requested time were in the NEGATIVE because they were slower than the timer - they still had the amount of time left to get to the correct time. The ones that were over the requested time had to subtract their number from the requested time and they were in the POSITIVE because they were longer than the requested time - they held on too long. For example, during the first round, the student all have to hit the button at 11 seconds. The results were:
  • 10.90
  • 12.45
  • 11.73
  • 11.18
With those numbers, the answer were:
  • -.10
  • 1.45
  • .73
  • .18
In the next round the times are different for each person and in the later rounds the time will change during the actual count up so the students have to pay attention. Also, you can distract the other contestants during the game by waving your controller which causes your person to jump up and down and/or say something. The screen also moves around to other views so you have to make sure you are counting while you are looking at the other things.

Just a couple of pointers:
  1. We created the character the day before we played in the room - this game doesn't use the Mii's so they have to be created and named ahead of time. There are only limited options for looks. Also, there is one girl who could be considered a little inappropriately dressed (has a low cut shirt on).
  2. We found that the students sitting watching the others actually playing started trying to distract the players by yelling out numbers (while the players were trying to count to their number) so we had to nip that in the bud quickly.
  3. We asked the students for other real world situations where negative numbers could be a factor and we got money issues and (with some help from another adult also in the room) sea level.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Wii - Day 4

Today our lesson on the Wii was on negative numbers. The specific standard that we were targeting was MA.5.A.2.4 - Compare and order integers, including integers shown on a number line. Chris and I gave a pre-test to the 5th grade students before-hand because it is a concept that they don't have any experience in. The test was simply to put a set of numbers in order from highest to lowest. We had a total of 4 students who were able to get the sequences correct (on a side note, we used Google Forms to create the test). From there, we did an introduction of negative numbers and how they run away from the zero point on a number line. How, even though the number is bigger, it is actually smaller in value. To emphasis this point, we used the Wii game Brain Age - more specifically the game Balloon Burst. The point of the game is to burst the balloons by clicking on them with the controller. You want to click on the balloons in order from smallest to biggest. If you choose the hardest level, the numbers will come in both positive and negative forms. As you can see from the picture, the balloons are all different sizes and colors and they even will move around (rotate) on the screen. We gave each student a chance to come around and pop the balloons in order from lowest to highest. While the student was popping at the board, the students at their seats were all writing the numbers down and putting them in order as well. Chris and I went around the room to check their seat work and make sure that they were working on the math. Everything went well.
Later that day we gave the students the same test as a post-test. We went from 4 students get them correct to all students passing and 18 of them that receiving a perfect score. Very exciting results. The other thing that is nice about the lesson is that this concept is not one that we normally get to in the classroom setting (due to other Math issues that we are working on). So, in one class period we were able to not spend a lot of time but cover a topic that doesn't normally get covered in our 5th grade class, all thanks to the Wii!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Ch 2 of book

So, chapter 2 of the book really didn't address anything new, it was all about different learning styles. A couple of interesting quotes - only about 20% of students today learn auditorily (through hearing the words and discussing meaning). The other 80% are either visual (people who need a mental model) or picture link
kinesthetically (through movement and touching). So, probably not the best thing to do to stand up and lecture all class long!
Also, only 50-60% of our intelligence is related to genetics. The rest is all environment related. One more for the statistic crowd (like I have a large crowd reading:-)), the brain filters out about 99% of the incoming stimulus which it comes in contact with. Since memory gets rid of most of what it encounters, you only have a short amount of time before deciding whether or not to keep or discard information. For preadolescents it is about 5-10 minutes and for adolescents it is 10 - 20. During the first 20 minutes of class students learn best.
So if you want the classroom where quality learning takes place, you are looking for a classroom "...that is enriched with teaching techniques from all three modalities and in which new information is given in 15-to-20 minute segments for secondary and 7-to-10 minute segments for elementary students, with time for processing in between".
So my question after reading all this - Is this a plus or a negative for block scheduling?