I had a great time at the CPM Teacher Conference last weekend in San Francisco. If you’re looking for a great conference next February (even if you don’t use CPM), consider checking this one out! (But sign up early!)
The most inspiring sessions I went to came from stepping outside of my routines and going to sessions that were on topics outside of what I usually look for. One was on physics and one was on equity.
The session on physics was titled “Why Might Teaching Physics in Math Class Be So Hard?” It was a great exploration of how the same kind of math (in this case, trig) is asked about in such different ways in math vs. physics classes. One activity we had to do was a card sort. Given a bunch of trig problems, which ones came from a math textbook and which came from physics:
It was fascinating to us how obvious or straightforward the math questions were. They were basically saying “find this missing side of a triangle, and if you’re confused we also drew a picture for you.” While the physics questions were “real life” problems in context. No triangle was mentioned, but if you start to draw out a picture of the situation, you slowly see a triangle and build from there.
At the end, the speaker (Victor Mateas) shared some of the research and his findings about the differences:
It was a fascinating session, comparing math vs physics questions/texts.
Thanks to all who came out to support my debate math session too!