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Day 72: Reviewing for the Big Trig Assessment

We are finally at the end of the introduction to trigonometry in precalculus…and to have an assessment that covers the breadth of the topics, my teaching partner and I decided we would create a two-day assessment, one day being non-calculator part and the other day being a calculator part; so each day is written as a class period assessment.  In order to get ready, my students were given a review sheet, but in class, having me drone on about the topics and going over problems can be deadly.  So….we created 8 Trig Stations (see the post from last year to get some more details) that cover the 8 big topics.  Students are in groups of 3-4 and have 10 minutes to work at each station…even if they don’t finish, they move on.  This year, students requested to take photos of the questions if they didn’t finish along with the answers (found in the orange envelopes).

Most students found the experience helpful for identifying the areas they needed to focus on for studying.  This year I even taped some of the conversations (unbeknownst to the group) so I could hear them use some of the mathematical practices including Sense-make, Reason, Argument, Model, Tools, Precision of language use, and Structure.  They were very enlightening and encouraging!


What do you do to check on student use of the math practices?

Day 70: Trig Jeopardy

Aren’t Google Searches great! I wanted a quick but engaging way to welcome back my precalc students after our long two week break.  We have a “Big-A Trig Assessment” on Thursday and Friday this week and I wanted a fun way to ease back into the school and trig routine.  I did this search this morning: trigonometry jeopardy powerpoint and found that Ms. McClellen of Charlotteville City Schools had a great powerpoint for reviewing the basics of our Chapter 4 Trigonometry topics; unfortunately, her website wasn’t available so I could give her more and full credit.


I did some tweaking to add in topics that I wanted to review and it was so easy to do!

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We had lots of fun reviewing the first day back.

Day 58: Student Generated Study Guide

Prior to taking a quiz, I had my student groups generate a list of topics they thought were going to be on the quiz.  I gave them 5 minutes to generate a list on the big white boards.


Then they passed them counter clockwise to the next group.  Each group read over the list, then added to it anything that was missing in their opinion.  We passed them again, and again, and again until the whiteboard arrived back at the original group.  Then we placed them on the side counters for all to see.

It was interesting to hear students say, “Oh! we forgot SOH-CAH-TOA” or “They forgot the special right triangles” or “I wonder what they meant by DMS” or “We learned what a radian is #sick”  I believe the act of creating their own list followed by looking at other lists and clarifying what was meant, help solidify their understanding of the plethora of topics.  How do you review with students?

Day 56: Time to Review Probability!

We are getting ready to test the probability chapter in AP Statistics and it’s time to review.  It’s time to use Review Stations again (used to review the summer work this fall). For each review station, I used my acrylic stand-up frames (I purchased last year at the Dollar Store), a laminated set of problems, an envelop with answers (for group self-checking) and an extra calculator.  At some stations, I also included a laminated first semester formula sheet.  I found problems that reflect common student mistakes or misconceptions as well as a smattering of AP exam questions.


I used to put the stations at each group, but with my bigger science room I am using the counters and space to get my kiddos up and moving.  So super quick to set up and take down between classes!


What kinds of activities to you use for reviewing that is student-centered and self checking?  I’d love to hear about other ideas!

Update 12/4: These review stations (along with some of the other activities we did during the chapter) sure resulted in one of the best performances on the probability chapter ever!  Bravo!!

Day 87: Getting Ready for the End

Today is the day before final exams.  I give my students self-directed time to work on the review and to ask questions.  It seems that any other activity might be distracting and counter-productive, while also instilling angst and stress.  I used to do review games, etc., but not enough seemed to get covered and we’d get bogged down in minutia, or narrow questions that only a few students had rather than focusing on individual needs. I also didn’t find that Review Stations worked with such a large body of content…again, focused on too many insignificant details rather than the big picture and essential long-term skills and procedures.  Students shared that having time in class to work in their own way was the best use of class time.

Day 86: Math Jeopardy Review

Friday before a 3-day week-end is a tough day to review for finals. But review we did!  Use a Math Jeopary! template to create the 5 major categories of the semester: functions, trigonometry, rational functions, polynomial functions and periodic functions.  Sorry, I don’t know where I got the original template….I searched, but couldn’t find it although I put some other possibilities below.

 Math Jeopardy 1Math Jeopardy 2

Its always nice to have a game environment to generate enthusiasm for the review.  Unfortunately we didn’t get through all of the questions, but good discussion occurred, and besides, they’ll remember the fun they had playing the game.

Math Jeopardy 3

Here are some resources:  Free download link. Free online High School Semester 1 Review game.

Jeopardy-Blank created by Don Link, Indian Creek School

Site for other game powerpoint templates

Day 80: The Multi-Purpose Trig Equation

Today was so much fun as a teacher!!  As an opener problem, I had the students solve the following equation: 2sin²x+9sinx+3=4cscx.  Then I wrote the problem on the board and opened it up to the kids to add lines to the solution.  They could only add one line at a time and they signed their first name.  Scrumptious discussions and collaboration.  In fact, one gal commented that the activity was great because of the “collaborative nature” of presenting the solution.  Lots of joy and fun, too.

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What I like best about this problem (since we are approaching final time) is that it incorporates skills from previous topics while also reinforcing the current learning.  They did great!  The only addition I needed to make (in red) was the restriction on the solutions.  Great way to review polynomial factoring, rational function equations, etc.


Day 74: Snowflake Lane in Precalc

Today was the inaugural run of the Trig Review Stations.  Overall I think it went great, although as I feared, some of the keys needed correcting.  Whoo-hoo…they will be ready for next year’s classes!   Also realized that two of the application problems were asking students to do more than I had originally intended, so after class, I hunted for and found some more accessible questions to replace them for next year’s stations.  I thing the overall effect was positive because students said the station work helped them determine what areas they still needed to work on as well as what concepts they had down well.

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One of the stations was simply to graph a given trig function in red, and its related reciprocal function in green (I just had to get the holiday colors in somehow!).  Then glue the graph on a pre-cut snowflake and glue the equation on the back.  It took me some time to cut out 60 snowflakes with my Cricut, but I really love the final results.  Now I have mathy window dressing for January!  I really love when student work can be displayed in an interesting and decorative way.

Day 68: Trig Review Stations

My precalculus teaching partner and I decided we need to do a good review of all of the trigonometry foundation concepts and processes our classes have been doing over the last three weeks.  There is sooooo much and we didn’t want to give them a huge review packet…deadly, huh?!  So in comes the Review Stations idea that I’ve used with great success with the AP Statistics class.  We brain-stormed the big idea, leveraging topics.

So here are the stations we came up with:

  • Station 1: Unit Circle questions
  • Station 2: Unit Circle Row Game
  • Station 3: Snowflake Lane Trig Graphing
  • Station 4: Application – Angular/linear velocities
  • Station 5: Application – Sine/Cosine Routine Relationship
  • Station 6: Application – Sine/Cosine non-Routine Relationship
  • Station 7: Combined Function Matching
  • Station 8: Inverse Trig Function questions

Still need to make answers for each station this week, but I think we have a good start for a great review.

Day 59: Probability Review Stations


With next week being a short week because of Thanksgiving and because of the rousing success of the Review Stations in the last chapter, which did result in overall better performance, I am putting together another set of Review Stations for probability with answers.  This time it didn’t take quite as long.  I also used the students’ suggestion that there be fewer questions at each station, so I’ll let you know how it goes.

I must say, though, that the time it takes to think up, create and then actually produce activities is beginning to takes its toll.  I am really looking forward to having these created for next year, so all I have to do is pull them out and make tweaks as needed.  I believe student engagement is the only way to ensure the vast majority of students grappling with and then gaining understanding of important “stuff.”  I am so glad caffeine was invented in a drinkable form!

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