In the last year my amazing colleague Ashley and I have been working to find ways to make learning math interdisciplinary and engaging, while also preparing students for a future that has many potential opportunities in computing. One of the projects that has come out of this work is what we’re calling #CSandMath, which somewhat obviously promotes a partnership between computer science and math 🙂 It hasn’t been easy work.
(Image retrieved from: http://wcsumathcoach.blogspot.com/2015/11/low-floor-high-ceiling-math-coach.html Thanks WCSU for this awesome visual)
We want to create scenarios that are low floor, high ceiling and promote critical thinking with an easy entry point, yet unbounded potential. To be sure, we’re not trying to replace wisdom of mathematical structure with a technological tool. Instead we’re trying to teach kids how to use their understanding and harness it with programming in a way that is meaningful. We hope that students see math as essential is attacking problems with computational thinking.
So here is an example of a lesson I’ll be using on Friday with my 8th grade students who have mostly mastered graphing and rearranging linear equations. It will hopefully bring them back to how we started the entire unit on graphing with a table, and we will try to put some real life twists on the finished program as you’ll see in the GIF’s at the end of the lesson. Sorry for the poor clarity on those, but to help you decipher, the green Tonka truck starts 3 feet away from the wall and you can time the feet per second. The room is 30 feet long. The cherry tomato in the wine glass has an initial weight of 7.7 oz and each addition weighs about .2 oz.
I’m begging you to try it even if you have little to no programming experience! Try it yourself and then with your students 🙂 How would you make it better? Do you think it has value?
If linear equations don’t have a place, you could easily adapt the lesson to other families of functions. Or if you wanted a just show them how to program one of their formulas, this structure and lesson linked below has worked well for us.