Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Lesson Plan for Long Evaluation, Part 1

My long evaluation was scheduled for April 22 at 1:00 in the afternoon. What should I teach? Since my last evaluation involved reading, I decided to tackle math.

Hmmm, I'd be done teaching measurement by then. State testing would begin the following week, and we sure could use some review. Next on my list to teach were probability and graphing equations. An integrated math and science lesson like Big Banana Peel from AIMS would be fun . . .

I looked back at the list of criteria on which I would be evaluated. A review lesson certainly wouldn't cut it. Probability would be active . . . but maybe too student-centered. Not enough opportunity to demonstrate direct instruction. The AIMS activity was cool, but it didn't really focus on one particular academic skill. How about graphing equations? If my schedule worked out the way I thought it would, the topic for that day would be coordinate planes.

Hey! I already had some great resources for a coordinate plane lesson.
• A Fly on the Ceiling by Julie Glass - This little book, which I've mentioned before in my blog, tells a fanciful story of how Rene Descartes developed the Cartesian coordinate system. I've used it as an opener, or hook, for this lesson for years.
• Coordinate Plane Pictures - A set that I've had for years provides lists of ordered pairs for students to plot. When they connect the points, a picture can be found. It's sort of like "big kid dot-to-dot."
Yeah, I think this lesson just might work. Just to be sure, I looked up the standards. My fourth grade students have been double advanced in math and are working at the fifth grade level.
• 5.G.A.1 - Use a pair of perpendicular lines, called axes, to define a coordinate system, with the intersection of the lines (the origin) arranged to coincide with the 0 on each line and a given point in the plane located by using an ordered pair of numbers, called coordinates. Understand that the first number indicates how far to travel from the origin in the direction of one axis, and the second number indicates how far to travel in the direction of the second axis, with the convention that the names of the two axes and coordinates corresponds (e.g., x-axis and x-coordinate, y-axis and y-coordinate).
• 5.G.A.2 - Represent real world and mathematical problems by graphing points in the first quadrant of the coordinate plane, and interpret coordinate values of points in the context of the situation.
The word "intersection" in the standard made me stop and think: "Wow, graphing equations is the intersection of several major units I've taught this year: computation, algebra, and geometry."

Eureka! It looks like I have a winner! This lesson has potential for connections to prior knowledge, a fun-filled hook, direct instruction, guided practice, and active independent practice. I like it!