Effective teaching and public humiliation

Students love it when we (teachers) make fools of ourselves.    I know I will be a math teacher that will be remembered… if only for doing aerobic algebra and witty banter.    Today I ended up teaching my beginning algebra class the difference between rays and lines using the Hustle.

Picture the scene:  the class is learning the basics of the Cartesian coordinate system.    I get the obvious question:  “so what will we use this for?”  So I explain how we had been working in one dimension, and we were moving to the next level.    “Interpolation, that is connecting the dots.   This is a called a segment… If we extrapolate, with an arrow, this is extending the points off to infinity.   This is called a ray.”

I point off toward the ceiling.

“And if we extrapolate  in both directions, we have a line.”   I point my other hand toward the floor, now in a classic Hustle pose.  “It’s stayin’ a-line, stayin’ a line.  Ah-ah-ah-ah stayin’ a liiiiiine!”    By now the entire class is laughing at me.

So… maybe I’m a stand up mathematician, but I know my students will remember that lines have rays in both directions.

John Travolta, eat your heart out.

 

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