M 175T, Fall 08

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. Choosing a problem:

        Choose a problem that presents a challenge for you, not one you already know how to do.

B. Before class:

  1. Try the problem yourself before looking at the Teacher Notes. This can help give you some feel for where other students may have difficulties.
  2. You may use the student handout provided, or you may create your own. But be sure to look at the Teacher Notes before making any decision. Also, remember that these problems are ones that students are expected to struggle mentally with. So don't defeat the purpose of getting mental exercise by "giving it away." In particular, don't put hints on your handout. One thing in particular to think about is if the problem uses any terminology that might need to be clarified. (But don't do this if indeed the purpose of the problem is to help students clarify terminology in their own minds.)
  3. Do think about what hints might be appropriate to give when.  These might be hints from the Teacher Notes, but you might in some cases develop additional hints to have ready if needed.
  4. Decide whether you will have the class work on the problem individually or in pairs.
  5. 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.
  6. Try to come prepared with an extension to give in case some students finish the tasks before others. You may also wish to follow up the original activity with an extension provided in the Teacher Notes.

C. In class:

  1. Pay attention to your classmates' progress in solving the problems. Give hints or other scaffolding as needed (but not before students have tried without hints).
  2. 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)
  3. Also include some discussion of where the problem fits into other topics. (The Teacher Notes will usually give you some ideas here.)