Today the other members of my Teaching Science Methods class and I did a session of “microteaching,” where we each spend 10 minutes teaching a different topic to the class, in the physics classroom we have been observing for the past two weeks. I felt a lot more comfortable this time than I did three weeks ago, the first session of microteaching, but I don’t know if it was because this was a physics class, or if I am actually getting more comfortable standing in front of a classroom. Probably a little bit of both.
Anyway, I thought it was a good idea for me to talk about the abstract/concrete spectrum that Dr. Evans has emphasized in class. I think students could benefit from thinking about the first step in word problems as “translate the abstract words to imagine the problem in a concrete (real-world) situation.”
I wish I had gotten more time to talk about math as a tool vs. math a language. The day before in class, the teacher had referred to some students’ modeling lab results as ‘beautiful results’ since the velocity they measured was changing equally over equal time intervals. That was a good example of math being a language since that beauty is communicating something to us about how objects fall to the ground; so the math was doing more than just being a tool to provide an answer to a problem. I don’t know how interested the students would have been, but at least I felt I would have been comfortable talking some more! (Teaching tools aren’t the most important part of teaching, but it’s good to know you are able to use them.)