I don’t know how I ever taught the distance formula inside a classroom. In fact, any lesson I can do that sends kids outside while I get to breathe some fresh air and relax is the best lesson. I taught this once to the only student teacher anyone has ever entrusted me with. I taught him that along with a bunch of other anarchist teaching principles. Maybe that is why I’ve never had another student teacher? Anyway, I did this lesson a while ago as a way to introduce the distance formula to my geometry class. It was adapted from this lesson by Pam Wilson if you want to do some more reading and create something that might fit your class better. Enjoy!
I started them off with this warm-up problem:
It was a great problem because kids actually know the restaurant and there was a big fight about how many walks due to the fact that there is more than one entrance to the parking lot, something that doesn’t show up on the map. After this, I showed them this map our our school:
And then the same map with this grid:
The grid has no scale on purpose. I wanted kids to figure that out. I then read them this article from Time magazine about the amount of steps you should get in each day, which apparently should be closer to 15,000 steps instead of a measly 10k. We talked about it a little and then I gave them a paper copy of the map with the grid and I had them work on these questions:
With question number 4, I sent them outside to walk and calculate. When they came back in, they had to work on these questions:
I also calculated the amount of steps I get on a typical day and showed them, it was low, around 2500, but it didn’t include the amount of steps I take each class period walking around the room helping kids which is a lot more than I expected but I can’t remember how much now. Some of the kids knew to look at the health app on their phones and were able to compare real data to their calculations which was a huge bonus. We did this lesson on a Friday and it was way better than giving a quiz, which is what I’m doing today. We do what we can right?
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