Kevin Denton

School

Polaris Expeditionary Learning School Poudre School District

Middle School Math Instructor Fort Collins, CO

I will... Have students in 7th and 8th grade math courses create simulations that model experimental vs. theoretical probability over many many trials, and also to depict the power of the fundamental counting principle as a means of discovering the total number of outcomes in a combination situation.

I will also have students create simulations or games that teach simple number-sense, or basic operation skills (ie. dividing fractions, locating numbers on a number line etc.)

Project Journal

Week 1, Tuesday:

Week 1, Wednesday:

Today I dug a new groove in my brain. Having to think several steps out for an outcome right in front of me stretched my brain and gave me a new way of thinking. This morning's presentation of target vs. representation got me thinking about how much of what I try and do with kids in mathematics revolves around showing them the power of math to solve problems from afar like measuring the height of a building by scaling easier measurements. The Monty simulation also reminded me alot of the experiments I do with kids to show them how the experimental and theoretical probabilities get coloser to each other after multiple trials. I am not really a computer guy myself but in the last few years have seen kids get excited about using graphing calculators to model, do regressions, or simulate probability. I think agent sheets could be a cool way of having kids take things a step even further to where they create the program and then run the simulation.

The games I find are a nice way to introduce people to the concepts and principles in incremental steps. Rather than teaching a bunch of code in order to be able to do something, people learn best when they are thrown into an engaging yet simple problem and then find a need to learn the skills along the way. Then they are more motivated to take it a step further into more challenging things. This "carving" into the zone of proximal development lies at the heart of good instruction, and I'm wondering how I can use these agentsheets to help kids acquire fundamental math skills and good critical thinking instincts AT THE SAME TIME. How to create a need and a desire to learn things is at the heart of why the engaging nature of the agent sheet games can be useful. I can't wait till the second week to create a simulation.

Week 1, Thursday:

I'm thinking that using collaborative diffusion and hill climbing I could have kids build a simulation of the basic question "Why are cells so small? Wonder if Dana would want to collaborate.

Week 1, Friday:

Collaborative Diffusion (Hillclimbing) <youtube v="Ux2J55uvJ10" />

Push and collision <youtube v="mc6u2MvWRvA" />

Week 2, Monday:

video games music and drama art nature skating/climbing and other individual sports animals (horses especially) bikes, cars, technical

experimental vs. theoretical probability of games fundamental counting principle combination locks Why are cells so small? Predator/prey, third world penny simulation

Flow: Simple math games (frogger, sokoban, pacman, space invaders)----simple simulations(forest fire, mud slide, cell size, preadator prey,)----games made from content simulations (nitrogen/carbon cycle zelda, tsunami/levy game, etc.)----kids create own simulation or game simulation and teach a concept to rest of class.)

a schedule perhaps: 7th grade 1st quarter: frogger(all), sokuban (reward) 2nd quarter: pacman (all), space invaders or own game (reward) 3rd quarter: forest fire sim (all), contagion (reward) 4th quarter: Cell size (all), build your own (reward)