I like this newer version of the M&M exponential increase and decay. I started with 5 M&Ms, so that the kids could see that the first value was related tot he 5, otherwise the 2 gets mixed up with the half. Then I had the kids use Excel to make a mathematical model, using the sum of the squares of the difference. We used solver to minimize. They got to see their graph line goign form crazy not fit to ooh looks fabulous.
“I see that Excel does the hard work for you.” Yes, yes it does, my little friend!
And at the other extreme I have someone who is trying for the first time, but does not know how to round numbers. Actually he may not be at the other extreme, since there are still 8 others who are doing no work. Is it because they cannot or because they will not? Or both? Anyway, Rounding Boy has persisted for four days, and we have actually completed the first two sides of the M&Ms handout in that time. Nobody works with him, because he was so nasty to them last semester, and I have enough problem children that I can get back to him for only about 2 minutes in every 15. He is quite obnoxious when I offer assistance, but I can be obnoxious too. Should I consider it a victory that I have a 15-year-old who now might be able to round numbers? It’s really a waste of time, because he’s not going to be able to pass the class, or the real algebra class. And yet, like a moth to a flame, I can’t help but try. Maybe I can get him to graph a line – maybe, if I try hard enough…
I blame the candy. It went to my head.