# Day 152: Matrix Review Stations

Just a quickie post today.  Lots on my plate: meeting with our principal and instructional coaches, meeting with our local community college to determine new placement criteria based on high school transcripts rather than the unreliable COMPASS test, and evening dinner/talk by our local math council.

In precalculus, we are finished with our study of matrices.  And what better way to review so many ideas, processes and applications than with Review Stations.  With eight stations, I tried to put all of these topics into eight unique groups.

In one station, “Using Determinants,” I wanted to introduce more ways the determinant could be used besides finding the area of a triangle.  One method was using determinants to decide if three points were collinear.  One student asked my why it worked, but then immediately thought about it and realized why when he related the work to finding the area of a triangle.  Another used determinant to find the equation of a linear function between two points.  Again, the initial reaction is to ask “why it works” before thinking it through.  I was so proud of the kids when, with a slight nudge, they actually figured it out on their own.  I am so lucky to have students who embrace the challenge!!  I think giving students new (unseen before) but very related activities builds confidence, resilience and perseverance, especially when they are able to work with their peers to discuss, fine-tune and use these ideas.

In another station, “Solving Systems,” I wanted to add in an activity that celebrated another culture (diversity integration) which is often hard to do in math.  In this case, student looked at Chinese counting boards (from 2000 years ago) to solve systems of equations.