Side note, this blog post is in no way a criticism of anyone or school or anything along those lines. It is just what happened in class today. If anything, it might be a criticism of myself as while I was planning this lesson, I assumed my students’ experience would be greater with this tool.
Today was the second day of real “content” with my Geometry students. After years of the Common Core Standards in place, which I know includes Geometry standards at the 7th grade level, I am still amazed when students remark that they have not used a protractor before, and I am fairly positive that they are being truthful (or at least that they didn’t remember actually using one).
What was intended to be a five minute “review” of these skills to launch into the real lesson activity of the day turned into a much more in depth “teaching” of how to use this tool. Although they might NEVER use a protractor outside of my class again I do find the task of measuring something using a tool useful. The task also spoke to the CCSS Math Practice Standards of attending to precision and using tools strategically. It is so challenging (especially at the beginning of the year) to determine what are appropriate scaffolds to help students work on a task. Moving forward, I plan to assume less which is actually a good thing because then we can talk about refined meanings of things. For instance, because of their lack of background we were able to really talk about that the measurement in degrees was actually a measurement of a rotation. I think next year my approach might be different.