It all started when I tried Dan Meyer's graphing stories, and then cup stacking lesson. I had some kids legitimately hooked, even though I presented them terribly. Well let me clarify, I had one out of two classes hooked. When I taught the cup lesson to my less hooked class I thought to myself, "Well that is it, I don't have the knack for this," and I almost wanted to stop in the middle of it, because it was a moment lost. Then we finally started to stack the cups, and the class stopped. A few kids were slowly inching toward the centre. Cup after cup was stacked, and I remember vividly at least one student, as if in a trance, approaching the front of the room to watch the answer being presented.
At this point I knew I had it. I botched a lesson slightly, that was all right. Part of it was because of outside circumstances. When I saw the drawing power of this final act of the "math narrative" I realised that I could do this too.
A couple weeks past by, and I didn't find any much inspiration for these lessons. I showed the kids Vi Hart's Math Doodling, and had them draw fractals. They loved it! Drawing shapes, and colouring them was so addictive to them. I had students asking for more fractals to draw. I challenged some students to do a harder fractal, and they wanted to do it! I had a student say, "I am so happy you introduced us to fractals!" I had them do a mini project where they graphed the number of shapes produced at each iteration, they did it freely, easily, and they had damn good graphs too. They could see instantly that most of these produced an exponential function (although at grade eight they only needed to tell me that it was not linear). I felt on top of the world.
Then the anyqs challenge came up this last weekend, and I decided that I wanted to go for it. I searched through my textbook to find a boring problem that I could zap to life. Price questions with a base cost plus a rising cost due to quantity intrigued me, and I decided to look for weird things on amazon.com. I found Armpit whitening cream. I had a hook that was my own, that I had made that weekend, put together prompts, and revealed to my students. I shared the results of that already, but I missed what has been happened after. Yesterday a student asked me if we could do another one of "those problems," because "it was fun." I had to ask her for a dictionary to know what that f-word was, because it had been so long since I heard those words in my math class. Another student, who does not fair well in my class (academically), was sucked into the problem. We were moving on to other things, and he asked me (begged me nearly), if I could refrain from showing the answer to the class, so that he could keep working. After working an hour he still wanted to struggle through this problem! My jaw's re constructive surgery will be occurring sometime within the next week.
And so now I am facing the reality. I have a problem... and I want more of them.
My name is Timon, and I am a mathaholic.