- Year 2023
- NSF Award #2050659
- Registration Master Teaching Fellow
- First Name William
- Last Name McKinney
- Discipline Mathematics
- Institution Engineering & Science University Magnet School
This year my team of math teachers began designing inquiry-based Calculus lessons inspired by thin-slice activities as described in Chapter 9 of Building Thinking Classrooms in Mathematics. These tasks ask students to examine patterns to make sense of structure and discover concepts and rules. Consequently, they empower students to take the lead on consolidation. However, with the elimination of direct instruction and notes, students do not have any resources with which to study or recall the learning that occurred in past classes.
We thus set out to determine what tools best empower students to identify their own learning, to summarize that learning into student-friendly language, and to provide students resources they can return to later.
We sought to enhance the sense of community in our math classes by improving communication amongst students, deemphasizing competition, encouraging collaboration and the sharing of ideas, and highlighting the contributions of each student.
Through this process we identified key preferences of students for the consolidation process, including having a graphic organizer to structure their thinking that included a place to record their conclusions and practice questions that directly tie into those conclusions. They also prefer to complete the conclusions section in groups, checking those conclusions with a gallery walk, and then coming together as a class afterward to ask clarifying questions. The following class students prefer to review solutions to select practice questions before moving on to the next activity.
Improving the consolidation phase lead to equitable outcomes by directly addressing students’ own math identities. Through this process, students were more willing to share ideas with others and demonstrated greater confidence when they did so.