Reflection: Accountability The Painted Cube Part 2 and End Behavior - Section 2: Investigation and New Learning


At the beginning of the day 2 investigation, two of my students, Natalie and Omar announced to me that they weren’t going to do this problem at all, so could I just give them something else to work on. My first reaction to these kinds of things is frustration and irritation. I think to myself, “Why won’t they just do the task?” But I have learned not to say this, because I have learned that there is actually something else going on here:

  • These students feel comfortable communicating with me about what is and isn’t working for them.
  • These students want to work on something that makes sense to them—they don’t just want to sit next to somebody who already understands the material and copy the material.

So instead of expressing frustration to these students, I have learned to thank them for speaking up—thank them for helping me understand their learning experience.

            In this case, I was really happy to say, “How about I sit down with you guys and try to really help you make sense of this? We are going to take as much time as we need to really understand this problem.” I didn’t want them to walk away from this lesson thinking that they just couldn’t solve it—and I figured that they were probably just having trouble visualizing it, and didn’t really understand what the problem was asking. It turned out this was true—we spent a few minutes building a color-coded cube, then trying to draw one using isometric dot paper, and connected these cubes to the data table. This was enough for them to get started.

            To me the moral of the story is to embrace students’ complaints (when possible) and to engage with them. I think that there is a very emotional side to MP1, and I think especially for reluctant learners who lack confidence, it is really important to have these conversations and to appreciate any of their efforts, even if it can be frustrating for us.

  Natalie and Omar
  Accountability: Natalie and Omar
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The Painted Cube Part 2 and End Behavior

Unit 7: Polynomial Functions
Lesson 2 of 9

Objective: Students will be able to write function rules to model the data in the Painted Cube Problem and describe the end behavior of functions of the form y=ax^n.

Big Idea: Students apply abstract reasoning to a tangible problem using cubes and diagrams and develop polynomial functions to model the situation.

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