Day 5 – Slope
I always use the ski analogy to teach students slope. This year, I added some Powerpoint visuals and a very fun Teacher Tube video to spice up my lesson. There are two things that I focus on when teaching slope:
- Read a graph from left to right, just like you read a book.
- When you think slopes, think about skiing!
I picked where I left off in the previous lesson, and had a “reminder” discussion about M. The students got out their graphing worksheets to review. We talked again about how M determined the steepness of the line and which direction the line went. I told them that M was a pretty pathetic name, and that we needed to come up with a better name for M. As a 6th grade teacher, at this point I had kids yell out crazy random names. BUT, I told them that we would have to give M not only an interesting name, but also a descriptive name so that M would not easily be forgotten.
Since I’m a Powerpoint fan now, I made a Powerpoint full of ski slopes and put a big ski slope on the screen just as I finished this talk. Instantly, many kids said, “Slope!” like they had discovered it all by themselves. Some kids were disappointed that we decided not to use their more creative names, but most students were very happy with good old “Slope”.
I then presented them with animated skiers going up, down, and off of the sides of mountains! I love using Powerpoint, as I can make it much more fun than my usual little stick guy falling off an undefined slope drawn on the whiteboard. It was great for a laugh as usual. Next year I need to add more positive and negative slopes with the corresponding equations. While most students did get the connection between the graph of a negative slope and -M in the equation, I need to be more explicit to increase comprehension for all of my students. I believe that adding the equation to each slide will fill in this gap.
After my slope lesson I introduced my students to my best slope discovery of all – a fantastic “Slope Dude” video that I found on Teacher Tube. It is cheesy and fun – just up my math video alley. The kids LOVED it. It is actually so catchy that I now say, “Puff, puff positive” and “Nice negative” every day. It also defined the word “undefined” a “cuss word” in mathematics, which really entertained my 6th graders (hopefully enough so that they will actually remember it long term)!
I really love the online PLN! Thanks Slope Dude! : )