Today in math was a test in perseverance. The students were working on the growth pattern of an animal called the Fastwalker. It was fairly easy for them to complete up to the 10th year, graph it and answer the questions regarding the line they graphed. The book did not require them to do any generalizing of a rule, however they had other plans! Here is a completed table of one of my students:
We worked on this up until lunch, discussed the line and how it was different than the constant rate of change graphs we had seen earlier. They kept asking if there was a rule for this one, so I asked them to play around with it and see what they thought. One of the students noticed that if you added all of the terms before with the term number you were trying to find, it gave her the height, so she started adding to see if it worked for the 100th term (nothing like starting small:).
While she was working on adding, another student, who had done a consecutive sums task earlier in the year in RTI w/me, realized there was an easier way to add those numbers, and you can see on the top of the page where he started playing around with pairing up the numbers:
It was so interesting to see the groups working with them and asking questions as they tried different ideas. The two of them finally saw that pairing up the numbers was working and began to generalize based on what they had done with the numbers. It was awesome because they began generalizing based on an even or odd number term because of the pairings and needing to divide the term number by 2. At the bottom of the first paper earlier in this post, you can see she wrote an even and odd rule for the pattern, while this student realized that if should work with even and odd because the decimal didn’t make a difference.
Shew…..they were sooo proud of themselves (and I was so proud of them) at the end of all of this hard work! The student who did the paper above said, “Wow, that one problem took us almost two hours!” And it was SO worth it to see the accomplishment on their faces. THIS is the reason we must make time for students to investigate their own mathematical curiosities and give them the time they need to persevere through these problems!