Thursday, March 5, 2009

Let's pour oil on a fire

Okay, so I built an assignment around this blog post: http://blog.dotphys.net/2009/02/the-price-of-a-piece-of-lego/ (as my mentor once shared: teachers are great thieves) since we were coming to March Break and just finishing up a unit on lines and data analysis. (Off topic: I use median-median lines with Grade 9 students; using the black box of LinReg just isn't in me.) They'd already written their tests and we had some time to kill. In fact, we already have students leaving for March Break today so I can't really start the Geometry unit.
I set the assignment up so that they used 4 different websites (Lego Canada, Lego US, eBay Buy-it-now and Toys-R-Us Canada) and in their groups created a shared Google Spreadsheet to put in their data. They had to find a way to organize their group so that they didn't overwrite or duplicate. From there they had to analyze the situation and come to some conclusions.
What all my wonderful planning forgot was that these were Grade 8 students (they take Grade 9 math). And I was asking them to look up Lego. Toys. Whose website is designed to bring children in. And entertain them. Chaos ensued for 10 minutes. I could have pushed on water but what is the point? I let them run amok, reliving their halcyon days when their biggest problem was when they were out of white Lego bricks... and then returned them to the work at hand.
I look forward to their results... they tend to be an imaginative group and it's been nice to post their work around our classroom. We don't get our own classrooms at the school so not many people post work up -- so, as my colleague said "You just walk in a classroom and take it over." The bare walls made things so austere and uninviting.

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