Today we begin our study of matrices!  I so love this chapter!  There are so many ways to bring in mathematical topics that aren’t part of the regular prescribed curriculum.  There are so many interesting and useful applications of matrices.  The beauty and inter-connectedness of mathematical ideas shines through when we use matrices.

My course partner and I decided to try something a little different for this chapter.  The mathematical skills involved with matrices are pretty straight forward and we believe our students will pick up the skills relatively quickly…so why “waste” valuable class time demonstrating skills and practicing?  We asked ourselves, “should we “flip” this chapter?”  I do have my AP Statistics students watch videos pretty regularly to gain skills, but I didn’t think I could find time to create matrix videos for precalculus.  What about Khan Academy?  These are pre-made videos with support self-quizzes and a way to monitor students completing the required skills.  I was hesitant because I find the videos to be very skill-driven and not much pondering or questioning….but how can it be in a non-interactive video.  Besides, the purpose of watching the videos is to present skills and have a way to practice the basic process.  So why not Khan?  There was a good chapter on Matrices and covers all of those “boring” skills in a way that students can control how they receive the information.

Today, we had our students sign up for Khan Academy and then will assign each matrix module in the Khan Precalculus topic as needed while we use class time to dig into the uses of matrices.  My students got started: signed up for my Khan Academy class, and assigned the first module-Basic Matrix Operations.  Many of my students huddled together to watch a video and then did the prescribed/required 5 correct problems in a row on the video skill.  Tomorrow we will begin our adventure into Matrices!