Catalog of Lessons by Subject > Math > STEAM

Catalog of Lessons by Subject > Math > STEAM 2017-10-06T01:52:17+00:00
View Lessons by Subject > Math > STEAM
(Calculus & Geometry): I teach upper school math, and in both my senior level AP Calculus class and my freshman level Geometry class, I use a model for teaching an important concept in that subject; both of these concepts are attributed to the Greek mathematician Euler. I begin these lessons with a story or a short video which introduces the idea and then follow up with the girls discussing it with a partner. There is then a hands-on activity; for the Geometry students they created 3D models of Platonic solids using toothpicks and marshmallows; for the Calc students they develop a framework on the board related to pieces of Euler’s identity that will be used in showing why it is true. In both cases, I lead the girls in discovering the formula/identity for themselves. We then talk about its applications and usefulness. At the end of the lesson, I give them stickers to wear throughout the day which say something like “I proved Euler's identity” and they are encouraged to share the concept with others in the school community. There is also women’s musical group, Zambra, which has composed an acapella song describing these concepts and relating them to music-- I show this to the girls the next day they come to class. Part of their assessment at the end of the unit is a partner quiz.
(Calculus): My most memorable unit was one we just completed, about the definite integral and its uses. One of the concepts within definite integrals is its application in calculating volumes of the rotation of a given curve. This particular application can be quite difficult to picture on a 2-D chalkboard or SmartBoard, so Mrs. [teacher name] came into class the first day with a large shopping bag filled with individual cups of Play-Doh. Throughout the unit, which lasted about a week, we brought our Play-Doh to class each day and used it to visualize total volumes as well as the individual “slices” that make up the foundation Riemann Sum from which we take the limit. This limit of a Riemann sum is the definition of the definite integral. Although this teaching tool may sound like a waste of time or particularly childish, it was a very effective way of illustrating a 3-D concept when other methods were not available. I enjoyed working with my hands, as I am especially creative, and believe that engaging my hands, not just my mind in class allowed a particularly difficult topic and unit to be more interesting and easier to understand.