Saturday, October 11, 2008

Saturdays are super

Week 1 of the Fall 2008 Super Saturday schedule!

This semester's class is a bit more balanced than last semester's. While Spring 2008's class had 10 students, all boys, this morning's class had 13 students, 6 of them girls. The better balance makes for a calmer class, as eight- and nine-year-old girls are generally a bit more staid than their masculine counterparts. They were very well-behaved today, and even though my only assistant was Zora (a high school senior who's working with me this semester in order to provide experience for her graduation project), I had no trouble at all corraling them. Moreover, the class seems like a strong one in comparison with the last couple that I've had, so I might be able to dust off the "Codemaking and Codebreaking" lesson, a fun but tough one which goes over well if the kids are up for the task and fails pretty miserably if the kids aren't quite up for the challenge.

Today it was the ever-popular "Build Your Own Fractal" lesson, in which we first play with the idea of mathematical patterns, then share in drawing some of the simplest of fractals (multiply transected triangles and squares, Sierpiński's triangle, etc.) and watch a few Mandelbrot zoom videos on YouTube before the kids go freewheeling for a half hour, designing their own self-similar patterns. We closed with twenty minutes of building pyramids, the kids (often clumsily) taping together their own three-dimensional analogues of Sierpiński's triangle.

The kids were well-behaved, attentive, shared the limited supplies (tape, glue, and scissors) responsibly, and even cleaned up after themselves at the very end without being prodded to. It was nice!

I've yet to read the final drafts of my Precalckers' poems, but I've glanced at a couple of them and noticed that some have changed significantly. Change is generally good when it comes to an iterated assignment. I'm excited to see how the students incorporated my feedback. I have a hunch there may be several very strong showings. With their permission, I'll be sure to share their work on the blog.

Okay, Maggie and I are off to a soirée at our friends' place. Au revoir!

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