I am Home and Stuck How Do I Get Help?

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SWBAT determine internet sites and tools to assist them with problems when they are at home or not in the classroom.

Big Idea

Through exploration good resources for getting help are found. Test internet tools such as online graphing calculators and common core tools to determine ease of use and accessibility.

Getting Ready to Search

5 minutes

Students will meet in a computer lab. When they arrive they will pick up Where can I get help? worksheet.  Students will look over the worksheet before class begins. By reviewing the assignments students can identify what needs clarification.

 I ask the students if they have ever got home and got stuck on a problem.  What did you do?  How did you feel?

I explain that this assignments will help them find resources to get help. We will look over the sections of the worksheet to make sure the students understand what is required. 

I want students to have a source to get help at home.  I realize that many of them do not have someone  at home who can help them with Trigonometry. 

Parents really appreciate this lesson.  I have had parents say that their child does not understand the work assigned and they can't help their child.  I am able to explain how the students have a resource to use for getting help.  I give the parents a blank copy of the worksheet and highlight some good resources such as Kahn Academy and the Library tutoring program. Parents are happy to know that the students have a way to get help.

Research the Internet

15 minutes

When students begin researching I am just a troubleshooter. 

I move around the lab proctoring student computer usage.  If a site is not working, we try to determine the cause. You should always check each source every year to make sure the site is still accessible in district. I sometimes have to request a site be available or remove sites that students are unable to access.

When I see students not working,  I ask what site they liked and why?  I will also try to share sites that other students find.  If a student finishes early I will ask them to research a topic we will be studying in the near future.  I ask questions such as find the different ways you can express the domain of a function. Where are logarithms used? What is the inverse of a function and how do you find it?

I want students to "play" with the tools I have on my list.  As with any manipulative, students need to experience the web tool.  I ask students to have one thing a tool does that they found interesting or they think is important to know.

Some teachers have used Kahn Academy for instruction. Nonetheless, many students have not explored the Kahn Academy site.  Khan Adacemy is a large site and many students are really not good at narrowing down a search. By searching the site they will see if it is a site they can use.

Students have also been told about the online tutoring service available for free by our local public library system.  The service is free and only requires a library card.  I will bring my library card in so students can test the service.  I ask them to think of a question and see how the service works. 

Students are more willing to use tools if they have had a chance to test them in class. We assume our students will use something if it is suggested but most need to try these sites with help available to be comfortable with the sites. Our students have had computers in their lives but have not really used the computer as an effective tool for learning.

When I notice that most students are finished we return to our classroom. We return so other teachers can use the lab. The labs are in the library so discussions can be difficult.

Selecting Favorites

10 minutes

After researching sites it is important to discuss the pros and cons of each site. This help the students process what they have done.  We will review each site and discuss the sites. I expect student to dislike Purple Math because it is all reading. Most students like Kahn Academy, Calcchat or the online tutoring.  

I have the students focus on the difference between the sites. Kahn Academy is good if you miss a lesson while the Calcchat or the online tutoring will help you with a specific problem.  

I also let them know that Calcchat leaves some of the process out when it shows the steps in solving.  This may confusing and you do not have anyone to ask about the missing steps.

At the end I have each person determine the site(s) that they will use in the future.  They will write this on their worksheet along with when they will use the site.  

I also want students to discuss the sites that have tools for them.  Many students do not have graphing calculators so the tools site will help them with this issue.  I can give students homework that requires a calculator and they can do the work at home. 

I will end the conversation by asking if there is a site that we have not discussed that someone wants to share. 


10 minutes

As the class ends I remind students that we have looked at how to study and where to get help.  Tomorrow we will look at Mathematical Practices followed by starting work using mathematics.

I also let the students know that their book is not required for a few days.  I have designed lessons that do not follow the book. 

I informally ask students if today's activity was useful to them.