Reflection: Discourse and Questioning Linear? Yey or Nay - Section 1: Launch


Asking strategic questions to assess student thinking and guide their understanding is part of what classroom discourse involves and part of many teachers' instructional tactics. In my intention of encouraging conceptual explanation and asking appropriate questions I must be able to anticipate responses and help students make connections between what they already know and what there is to learn. So I definitely need to grasp, what they already know. This may entail questions that may be way too obvious for some students, to the point where they may feel their intelligence is being "insulted".  On the other hand, if I assume too much, I may lose students who need the scaffolding questions in order to make connections. Also, some students have a difficult time explaining their reasoning, making it tough to get a good idea of what they know. Then using the "easy" questions is essential. I may disguise questions like in this example: 

I can't assume that students know what the graph of a linear function looks like. For some it is quite obvious, but others may find that the function y = 5^x, for example, is linear because of its linear appearance at certain intervals or for any other reason. In this case I say:

"A student in my other class said that this function is also linear because of the behavior of the graph at these intervals, do you agree or disagree? Explain why?" Instead of asking "what does the graph of a linear function look like? 

When I do ask a question with an obvious answer, when I find it necessary, I make sure not to follow with similar questions which they may find "mindless". It's this repetition that really turn kids off and "loosens" respect for the subject matter. 

This careful scaffolding of questions give me opportunities to appropriately assess different levels of comprehension and also evens the ground for student participation.

  Asking the right questions. Don't "insult", but don't over-estimate.
  Discourse and Questioning: Asking the right questions. Don't "insult", but don't over-estimate.
Loading resource...

Linear? Yey or Nay

Unit 7: Functions
Lesson 6 of 11

Objective: SWBAT make comparisons and determine if a function is linear or non-linear.

Big Idea: Students analyze graphs, equations and table data, recognizing specific characteristics of linear and non-linear functions.

  Print Lesson
2 teachers like this lesson
Similar Lessons
What is a Function?
Algebra I » Linear & Absolute Value Functions
Big Idea: Students will identify whether a relation is a function by examining its inputs and outputs or with the vertical line test.
Washington, DC
Environment: Urban
Noelani Davis
Choosing a Method to Find x-intercepts
Algebra I » Quadratics!
Big Idea: Students take a step back from their work to examine a variety of quadratic functions and reflect on why they might choose one method over another.
Boston, MA
Environment: Urban
Amanda Hathaway
Seeing Structure in Dot Patterns and Linear Functions
Algebra I » Mini Unit: Patterns, Programs, and Math Without Words
Big Idea: By pulling from and synthesizing the work we've done over time, students get a sense for narrative structure of this course.
Worcester, MA
Environment: Urban
James Dunseith
Something went wrong. See details for more info
Nothing to upload