Comparing Computer Bytes Day 2 of 2

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Students will be able to applying operations with numbers written in scientific notation to real world situations that are relative to their everyday lives.

Big Idea

Use technology to hook students and apply operations in scientific notation to educate them about computer history.

Bellringer - Lesson Hook

10 minutes

The bulk of the class period today needs to be focused on completing the activity and discussing the answers, however you chose to allow students to work through the questions.  Therefore, your opening hook is short.  I have linked three optional videos from Youtube that are all short, about two minutes long, and show retro technology.   I suggest opening with these so students are interested in the activity and again get a sense of the history of computers and cell phones.  Technology changes fast!


Radio Shack Commercial

40 Years of Cell Phones

Kids of Today vs. 80s 



Completing the Activity

35 minutes

Complete the remainder of the questions and student lead presentations of solutions with time for questions and clarification.  How you complete the activity really depends on how you started the work yesterday.  As a reminder, here are the various suggestions I made for working through the activity, depending on the needs of your students.

  1. Strategy One:  Mission Impossible – If you have some groups, about 50% or so, who are successfully working through the problems then you have experts in the room who can act as resources for the struggling groups.  I would suggest a Mission Impossible spying session to help struggling groups gather ideas for beginning work.  After the spying session, allow groups time to debrief and begin working again as you are moving about the room assessing student progress.
  2. If more than 50% of your students are struggling to begin then after a few minutes of work stop the class and strategically using Scripting to create a map of ideas to help struggling students.  Ask student groups for suggestions of useful ideas to begin working the first problem.  Clarify for everyone that you are not looking for a full description of how to work the problem.  You simply want to script a variety of ideas for getting started on the problem.  Then allow groups time to choose an idea and begin working again.  After a time, pull students back together and script more student ideas and work under each of the scripted ideas for getting started.  So if one group chose a certain method for beginning then script how they used that idea to work further on the problem.  You can stop here and then allow more time to complete the problem if you feel the need to break up the problem one more time.  Then allow students to work through a section of problems, usually three or four at a time, and pull students together for a student lead mini-wrap up.  Always circulate to assess students and provide feedback as students work.
  3. If students are working through the questions and only a few groups are struggling, much less than 50% of the room, then allow groups to work as you focus your time and attention on providing feedback to groups who need additional support to move forward and be productive.  You could allow this entire class period as a work day and then present answers to the problems on the follow day, but I only recommend this option if almost all your groups are really understanding and you know they are working correctly.  Your second option is to again chunk the problems into smaller groups of work so students are working and then coming together for a mini-wrap up of the work they have completed so far.  For example, allowing students to work questions one through four and then holding a mini wrap up session just to ensure students are working correctly before they complete the activity and it breaks up the class period so students are more focused.  Changing activities gives students something new to focus on and prolongs their attention span.  If you spend the entire class period on the second day reviewing answers, it needs to be interactive or else you will lose many to short attention spans.

Activating students as owners of their own learning

Activating students as resources for one another

Cooperative Grouping Explained


Wrapping Up the Lesson

5 minutes

Close the activity by preparing students for the following day's work.  Tell students they are about to further this work with scientific notation by beginning a formative assessment lesson.  Students will be re-grouped tomorrow so be ready to sit with new partners.  The class will begin a fun card match activity to further guide their thinking about applying scientific notation.  Make sure the student card sets on pages S-2, S-3, and S-4 are copied and cut before tomorrow as I discussed in the lesson plan yesterday.