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This might come in handy later in life as a teacher. Or a parent. Or a fast-food manager. Or a dog.

Being perfect doesn't make you loved.
Being good, being loving, gets you loved.
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If I were to have to teach science to high school students (PLZGODNOH) I would be so tempted to throw out at least one boring lesson and perform this experiment...

What's in the Box?

Present students with a box. It's large, it's wooden, it's painted black; it's A Box.

They have to figure out what's inside it. Grade depends on accuracy (not worth much; 15 points max).

They are instructed to use the scientific method. They can't open or damage the box obviously, but they can do DAMN NEAR ANYTHING ELSE to it; weigh it, shake it, place magnets by it, put it close to a Tesla coil, etc.

The only question is: what to put in the box? :)
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If a student says "I'm never going to use this (math) in real life", say...

Well, you won't do push-ups or sit-ups in real life either, but you do them because it makes you stronger.


Probably not. But you never know. Think of it like a Swiss army knife. You may never use all the tools, but one day you may be damn glad you have it.

Yeah. That Swiss army knife one is cheesy. Might skip that one, Future Self.

EDIT: or

You're right. We should just have you come in and watch TV all day. ;)
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Ask students to write a summary at the end of each class about what they did. "Learned how to factor", "learned what the quadratic equation does", etc. Think of some pithy comment about how if you don't write it down, you don't remember it. Plus it sounds impressive when the parents ask, "So what did you do in school today?" (assuming they do that). :/

This counts as their attendance grade for the day.

To keep it fair, I will do mine. :P Today we learned about contour curves and how they give the general shape of the plane of the multivariable function. Also, we leaned about the normal vector and the binormal vector. The normal vector is the direction in which the curve is turning at each point. The binormal vector is perpendicular to both the normal and tangent vectors.

God I have sooo far to go before I graduate. :(


Have them keep a math journal. They will write out their thoughts as they attack problems. Will show them how to do it in class: "Crap, this looks hard. How the hell do I do this? Better check the example problems in the chapter. Hmm, this looks like...I'll try...". Gets the flow going. This will be graded at the end of term.


Instead of having a math problem of the day to start them off, have them translate easily understood, real-life relationships into math speak. Things like, "Your overall feeling for your little brother is your love for him minus your irritation at him. Write this in mathese." Do several simple statements to get them in the habit of turning word problems into equations. Once they have the habit of doing that, THEN they can start solving the equations. TELL them that is what they are doing. They will hopefully recognize that as a tool and use it in future problems. This has to be done every day though, otherwise it doesn't become a habit.
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No matter how much I put in, you decide what comes out.

Say this on the first day of class.
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Want to remember people's names? Do this.

Remember first two letters of their name only. You can also imagine the two letters translucent and superimposed in front of their faces, like how elements in the periodic table are displayed.


Take the first two letters of their name and create a nickname: California Catherine, Jesus Jeff, Massachusetts Mike, etc. I like to use state names when possible, as that seems to work best for me.
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From the mockumentary Chalk.

I will totally do this if I become a teacher:

Scene: classroom. Teacher has held a student after class.

T: Will, I'm gonna have to do it. I'm going to have to call your parents.
W: What's this about?
T: Just gimme the phone number. (makes a big deal, acts all pissed off)
W: 555-1212
T: (dials)...Hell, Mr. Blah? Yes, I'm Mr. T, your son's history teacher. It's about your son's grades...they're, Will, you talk to him.

(Will gets up and takes the phone)

T: ...Will, there's no one there. But there will be next time.



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December 2009

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