Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Noticing and Wondering with the Binomial Theorem

This is my first year teaching Pre-Calc.  However, with the exception of our trig unit (which, granted, is a good portion of the class), I've taught most topics we cover in Pre-Calc.  But, today's lesson was on the Binomial Theorem, which I had never taught before.  As I was reading up on it, I found myself noticing and wondering.  There's so much to explore.  At first glance, do a bunch of expansions look all that thrilling?  Maybe not.  But, the more you dig into it, the more patterns you begin to find.  So, I decided to put my students to the challenge, too.  This was their warm up today:

I gave them 3-5 minutes.  And then I started calling on people to share, writing their thoughts on the board so everyone could see.  They were hesitant at first but grew more confident as we went on.  After I had called on several kids, I asked if anyone else had something s/he wanted to contribute.  These are the lists we made in my two classes:

Mostly, I just wanted to share my students' thoughts, because I thought they did a great job for this first-ever notice/wonder assignment.  Also...the second class's "wonder" was, of course, the very nature of the lesson, so...mwah!


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