M 175T, Fall 07

Guidelines for Leading Class

-> Please do not look at any problem to be done in class (except the one you will lead) until after it has been discussed in class.

A. Before class:

  1. Try the problem yourself before looking at the hints, answers, or solutions. This can help give you some feel for where other students may have difficulties.
  2. If you get really stuck, look at the hints, then try some more. If you still get stuck, then it's OK to look at the solutions. If you are still stuck, talk with someone else to see if they can help.
  3. Think about whether the problem could be presented in a better way. If so, use that better way when you give the problem to the class.  But be sure not to make the presentation so easy that the problem becomes a matter of following a procedure rather than thinking and figuring out. One thing in particular to think about is if the problem uses any terminology that might need to be clarified.
  4. Also think about whether more hints might be needed; if so, come prepared to give them if needed.
  5. Decide whether you will have the class work on the problem individually or in pairs.
  6. Unless the problem statement is short enough to write the problem on the board, bring a copy of the problem (but not hints or solutions!) for every group that will work on the problem. If you do not modify the problem,  try to use the PDF rather than the HTML version. Bring a copy for me, too.
  7. Make sure any supplies (ruler, etc.) needed are available. Either ask the class in advance to bring them, or provide them yourself, or check (at least a day in advance) to see if I can provide them.
  8. Try to come prepared with an extension to give in case some students finish the tasks before others.
  9. You may choose to bring copies of hints (including ones you have decided to add) and/or solutions to pass out after the problems are discussed, but this is not necessary.

B. In class:

  1. Tell the class the "point(s)" of the problem. Depending on the problem, you may want to do this before the class works on the problem, or after -- or ask the class after they have solved the problem what the purpose(s) were.
  2. Be sure to give any preparation needed (e.g., make sure terminology is understood) before having the class work on the problem.
  3. Pay attention to your classmates' progress in solving the problems. Give hints or other scaffolding as needed.
  4. Lead the class in a discussion of the problem, its solution(s), and what might be learned from it after everyone has solved the problem (or sooner, if you decide that is appropriate -- e.g., if class time is almost over and most have solved the problem)