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Discussion: All Stories in Geometry on Computer
Topic: Transformations of Geometric Objects

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Subject:   RE: Transformations of Geometric Objects
Author: Mathman
Date: Nov 7 2005
On Nov  7 2005, beckyann wrote:
> I am a student at USU going into Math/Stat Education.
>I found that
> most of the students had a hard time understanding that both
> rotations and translations were refelctions.  I think the concept
> was a bit abstract and that the students couldn't follow it.  I also
> think that students just wanted to fool around instead of completely
> understanding the material presented.

This is well meant advice:

Is there a question in there, Becky?  You didn't say if, as a student teacher
you had a mentor.  "Students" of the age you speak can be quite rude to
established teachers, let alone beginning teachers who do not have any authority
over their behaviour.  One of the BIG factors lending itself to an undisciplined
class is unpreparedness.  If you are trying to experiment yourself with software
with which you are unfamiliar, and possibly teaching a topic not well known or
well rehearsed, it's an accident waiting to happen.  Students can tell in about
1.6 seconds who is in charge and who is not.  So ...

Get to know the software WELL before even thinking of using it, especially its
possible quirks.  Plan a lesson over several days if necessary, researching the
material in the course, and making SURE that the software is indeed serving a
purpose for that lesson, not being used just because it is there.  Do not use
the students as guinea pigs.  They will smell that a mile off, and it is
insulting to them.  If they have lots to do, and a well planned lesson will give
them that, they will have no time for anything else.

If you are being left alone in the classroom, then expect that they will not be
willing to obey you.  So also try to plan things to bring in a little humour or
something related to their possible interests.  I know you wouldn't have time
for this sort of thing, but a recording camera could do wonders if you had a
large mirror and kids taking shots of each other performing antics hiding behind
half the mirror. What is seen is a mirror image of one half of their face or
body as they move in and out, or wave arms up and down etc..  You could turn
some of it into a physics lab using reflection to determine a ton of
information. ...You think of more ...that's teaching.

A super little drawing [Tiling]program called Kali can bring some fun to things
if you can get a computer lab and a colour printer.  They can make their own
Christmas wrapping paper with it if you can afford the ink.


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