Specific Expectations Trap

We finished the Exponential Functions unit, and I think the students enjoyed it, especially the last part where we were modelling real-life situations. I used Fry’s Bank Account 3-Act Math, and it was a hit!

In stark contrast, we have started the Trigonometric Functions unit, and it has not be going well. Unfortunately, I have to take all the blame for this.

The problem began when I was started to plan this unit. I am not very familiar with this material, and had to spend a lot of time trying to make sense of it all and how it all connected together. Because of my lack of the overall picture of the material, I had to focus on each specific topic. In turn, I ended up getting all wound up in the specific curriculum expectations.

This is not how I like to roll. I prefer to look at the overall expectations and find interesting and engaging ways for the students to understand them. If I do that, my lesson flow better and the connection between concepts is easier to see. But, when I focus on the specific expectations, things get disjointed and there are little to no connections being made from topic to topic.

Another side effect of this is I’m packing in too much into each lesson, thinking that I have to cover every single specific expectation. So, I feel like I’m failing at several different levels now. My inquiry-based, student-led philosophy has gone down the toilet, I’m covering way too much in each class, and the holes in my knowledge in this area is showing.

Gah. I’m re-evaluating my upcoming lessons and will be trimming them down, which will hopefully solve a few of these issues (at least the last 2). I’m hoping the assignment I come up with (yet to be determined :S) will bring back some inquiry to the course. If anyone has any suggestions, please let me know!

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