Those Darn Limits!

Calculus this week, we continue with trying to figure out how to solve those darn limits. It’s been a struggle for the students to figure out a consistent way to understand what the limit process means. Finding out you are investigating a graph as you approach specific x-values and not about what is going on at a specific x-value. The struggle is real.

But we continue to practice, continue to work, we continue to question, we continue to get better every day.  The students seem to understand a little bit more with each passing day about the limit process.  They are starting to get a grasp of what’s going on even though their confidence right now is not quite as high as they are used to. One of the things that they will do is understand that through hard work and perseverance understanding will come.

Gamification is going well so far, the kids earned credit for the market from parental involvement at Open House, credit for posting videos to YouTube, credit for doing things they are supposed to do like turning in homework.  One of the things that I’m really excited about this next week:  I am going to have all of my students open their own blog under my classroom at Kidblog. When they do this they going to create a blog that talks about math and hopefully will give them an opportunity to really think about what is going on and how they could use math in every day life.  Maybe not calculus in every day life, but I’m excited to see what they write.

I also love the ideas the students come up with – we were trying to figure out what to call our test review since we don’t take tests anymore (boss fights now).  So I came up with the boss fight preparation pack.  One of my students had the brilliant idea to modify this and call it the Boss Fight Strategy Guide! Brilliant!

Another super great idea that the kids of came up with is finding boosts or loot or purchasing items from the market that they don’t lose when they spend them.  Something that can be used multiple times per semester.  This is difficult for me because I want them to continue to work, to earn the different credits for market items that are available, but at the same time if we can find a way to give them some some sort of loot that they can have forever I think that would be a great idea to.  Figuring out exactly what that loot would be will be something we have to talk about as a class, but their ideas have been so awesome!

In Precalculus we continue to advance through Algebra 2 material – but it is more difficult and there is lots of new analyzing that is happening.  We have been hitting domain and range really hard, which can be challenging to “see.”  We have also added to the analyzing tons of other important things that are visible on graphs: horizontal asymptotes, vertical asymptotes, end behavior towards positive and negative infinity, increasing and decreasing behavior, constant behavior, points of discontinuity, interval notation, and local maximum and minimum values.  They have worked really hard to understand and have asked so many great questions.

On a side note – this is year three of the conversion to #flipclass.  It seems that each year I grow more and more comfortable with this classroom model.  It is still difficult for some students to make this switch (once they do, then tend to really like it), but the Precalc students have been amazing.  One of the things that I stress over and over in the early going is that students must ask questions when they do not understand.  Once they realize this and own it, I am all of the sudden meeting each student exactly where they are and wasted class time trickles all the way down to zero.


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