Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Notice and Wonder

Somehow I had some free time last night. Well, more like I really miss talking and sharing with everyone so to heck with grading and planning. Plus the topic for #globalmath was of interest to me.

Our district is big into Cultures of Thinking and held a Project Zero conference earlier this year. One of the thinking routines is "See, Think, Wonder". I was curious to see more from Max and his take on a similar "What do you notice?, What do you Wonder?". I was looking for what might be similar and how he envisioned the process.

It was refreshing to see everyone. The discussion was well worth it. My take is I like the simplicity of just the notice and wonder. I have used see, think, wonder and students are ok with it. The students did well with the see and wonder part but would get tripped up with the "think". Students would sometimes just skip the think statement. With the notice, wonder question, students are not hesitant. The questions seemed more natural to them. I am wondering if using See, think, wonder applies best in certain situations vs just notice and wonder. I need to look into this some more.

Now that I got my fix, time to do some planning. We were starting the concept of scatter plots and line of best fit the next day. Seemed like a perfect opportunity. I went looking for some interesting data and came across the winning Olympic Women's High Jump heights.

Some of our noticings and wonderings.  Hmm, time to clean the board.

A little thin. I was trying to use it at the beginning of class and got distracted by student stopping in for a signature for schedule card (we are in the middle of scheduling for next year), another random student needing help, phone call from office, grrr. If I wasn't so tired and I was on top of it, I would have had a student leading the charge instead of waiting for me. 

Loved someone noticed the jump in years. I purposely only showed the 1928 to 1964 data to hopefully make that jump stand out. I asked the person who mentioned the taller people what made her say that. We then got out the general trend of "as the years increase the winning heights increases".  Of course there was the discussion of it is not exactly linear. Next up, estimate what might have been the winning height in those missing  years (high five to history teachers, they guessed it was because of WWII). We started with just staring at the table, got some different responses and how they came up with them. Asked questions like "how confident are you in your estimate".

Transition to a scatter plot of the data (I used the . Estimated again, some stuck with their estimations, some modified. Asked the modifiers why they changed. Some great thoughts on trying to make the estimation points "line up" with the rest of the data. I wanted to dig into that "line up" statement and asked them to say more about that. Student went up and drew a line. I wish every day went like this.

From there the lead in to "best fit" line. I really wanted to use the high jump data with the Illuminations applet but had the darndest time getting the scale to work with the data. It did not like 1928+. The green dots to move the best fit line were off the screen. We had some data in our textbook that we used instead that was able to fit on the scale. We then played around with trying to get a best fit line and seeing how close we were to the computer fit. After playing we wrote up some guidelines on what to look for when trying to create a line of best fit. 

Tomorrow we get to circle back to that wonder question of "are people taller now so can jump higher". Time to go gather some date, make a scatter plot and see. I have no idea what correlation we might see if any. I will be curious to see how the students react. If there appears to be a correlation will they latch onto that and go with "it must be because we are taller" or will they introduce other variables such as better coaching, equipment, etc.


  1. Cool -- I love the idea of having a student run this at the beginning of class when you are distracted, and the idea that you can circle back and address their wonderings (and leave it open to the data). I wonder if taller people jump farther in every year, and if a short person now has a farther jump than a tall person in 1928?

    1. Update: My son decided to get the next day, I was unable to do the follow up question on if taller people jump farther. It is the end of the trimester and we are crunched for time. I am thinking about having the girl who had that wondering go with it and that be her assessment. I am curious myself what correlation might be there.