9/11 math lesson?

Discussion in 'Debate & Marathon Threads Archive' started by Cerek, Sep 4, 2012.

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  1. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    I'm looking for a math lesson connected to 9/11. I'm teaching 8th grade this year and, ideally, would like something the kids could do as a short, individual project (maybe one day worth of work).

    It doesn't really matter what section of content the lesson covers. I feel 9/11 is worth putting the pacing guide on hold for 1 day, if need be.

    I've browsed for lessons online, but so far, I haven't really found anything I feel I could use.
     
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  3. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    The numbers associated with that day are too sad to ponder.
     
  4. treefrogs

    treefrogs Rookie

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    Honestly, I think it would be pretty sad... Maybe a patriotic or flag related math lesson?
     
  5. Mathemagician

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    How about something geometric? Like design a little pictorial tribute using various geometric figures or by plotting points or something?
     
  6. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    That is why I'm trying to find a lesson that focuses on a different aspect. I'm looking for a way to honor the day and event with the respect it deserves.
     
  7. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    How about a moment of silence before you begin class?
     
  8. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    That would be respectful, but I'm looking for a learning opportunity as well.
     
  9. GoldenPoppy

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    I'm not clear on what your objective will be...do you want to honor the day and those who were the innocent victims or the heroes? Are you looking to get reactions from those who weren't near, but were so worried and frightened?

    I can't imagine trying to make a math lesson out of those events. I wouldn't even want to think about what types of questions you could ask.
     
  10. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    My objective is to find a lesson that ties into 9/11 that will help the students learn more about just how significant an event it was.

    Math encompasses more than numbers, so there are plenty of other aspects to focus on. I thought about a short project researching the planning that went into building the towers, looking at a floor plan or blue print for one level and drawing it to scale on graph paper, etc.

    If some can't imagine a math lesson that ties into the events, that's fine. As for the questions I could ask, I think I've proven myself professional enough to understand the sensitivity of the subject.
     
  11. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Studying the floor plans is sad if you know anything about the design flaws that contributed to the tragedy. Cross curricular connections are great when they make sense, but forcing connections when they don't make sense or are insensitive is not advisable. Better to stick with a patriotic or heroes slant or just stick to your regular curriculum.
     
  12. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I feel like any sort of math lesson based on the events of 9/11 would come across as insensitive at best, disrespectful at worse. I'm just envisioning those news stories we always see where a teacher tries to turn a lesson about some serious topic like slavery into a math lesson, and then you end up with questions like "If a slave owner has 10 slaves and 8 run away, how many slaves is the slave owner allowed to beat?" It just doesn't seem like a serious and heartbreaking topic like 9/11 could fit nicely into a math package.

    I think that a big problem you could run into is dealing with the fallout of the impact of the event on your students. The events of 9/11 reached many people, even people not in NYC. One of my own students here near the West Coast had a very close family member die in the attacks. I'd hate for your students to feel safe in a math class and then be blindsided with a geometry lesson about the measurements of the floor where their uncle happened to work before he died. Honestly, even if a student didn't have a personal connection to the events of that day, it could still be problematic. I feel like a math lesson about the geometry of the buildings or trajectory of the airplanes (I'm just giving examples here) trivializes what happened and makes it almost mundane or something.

    I appreciate what you're trying to do. I'm just struggling with how it would actually work and be perceived. I don't think it's a good idea.
     
  13. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    This is a good point.
     
  14. MikeTeachesMath

    MikeTeachesMath Devotee

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    This, exactly.

    My aunt worked in the WTC. She had just started her day at 8:30 AM in WTC-1 on the 81st floor when the plane hit 15 minutes later, 10 floors above her. She's alive, thankfully, but it's not something I like to think about, and I would certainly get up and walk out of a class if the teacher decided it would be a good idea to make a lesson out of it. :2cents:
     
  15. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Thank you for the feedback, Caesar. Math doesn't lend itself easily to a lesson of this nature, so it would have to be a non-traditional type of lesson. But it is possible to create those unique lessons that still provide a tie-in to the curriculum even though the content may not be addressed directly.

    I had to take a class on multi-culture lessons and pedagogy for my license. The professor required a project in the class and I asked how I could incorporate multi-culture into math. Her suggestion was "have the kids research a historical mathematician". Nice idea from a multi-cultural viewpoint, but kinda hard to tie into the curriculum.

    I realize it will be difficult to find or create a lesson along these lines that respectfully reflects on 9/11 while also addressing part of the curriculum.
     
  16. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    I applaud your attempt, Cerek, but something about it just rubs me wrong. I don't know.

    What ideas are you still considering?
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2012
  17. TeacherGroupie

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    The math lesson that will make that point without grieving the survivors is likely not to exist for another decade or so, Cerek. Please don't persist with your plan in the face of the objections that have been stated in this thread.
     
  18. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I'm thinking that this might be one of those situations where it would be nice if you could create some sort of connection between a major historical event and your content, but it just isn't possible. Sometimes that's just how it is. Not everything can or should be connected to our content areas.

    It seems like you really want to do this. Aside from some of the ideas already mentioned (blueprints, etc.), what other ideas do you have? What other directions are you leaning in?
     
  19. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I think you're trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.

    9/11 was about a lot of things, but none of them were math. I think that trying to make it about math would greatly diminish its importance with a generation of kids who, with each passing year, know less and less about it.Or, even if they do know what happened, feel it far less viscerally than those of us who remember it so very well.

    Let the history teachers teach 9/11. Treat it with respect. But don't try to make it something it wasn't.
     
  20. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Do you get up and walk out when/if it is discussed in Social Studies or American History?

    I understand your personal feelings, but the event does need to be discussed with future generations so the can understand the significance of what happened.

    Right now, not very many. I appreciate the feedback from everyone and I agree it may still just be too soon. I understand the objections and concerns that have been raised. I feel the same way with everything I've thought of so far, that's why I was asking for ideas from others.

    I think, if I do anything, it would have to be along the lines of the historical math figures for the multicultural class I mentioned; something that may not correspond directly to the Pacing Guide or content, but does still connect with mathematics.

    I do feel there must be a way to find or think of a lesson that IS sensitive to the event, and I would really like to do it, but I understand the reality that it just may not be possible right now.

    If I think of some ingenious idea, I'll share it to see what everyone thinks, but right now it looks like I will probably just follow the regular lessons I had planned.
     
  21. GemStone

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    As somebody who was in Washington, D.C., on that terrible day, I would be shocked and upset to see it minimized to a math assignment. If you want to do something, let them calculate square footage of the new towers or something like that.
     
  22. GemStone

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    Respectfully, that would not be permitted in my public school. (Resembles prayer.)
     
  23. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    This is your best plan of action.
     
  24. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    A moment of silence wouldn't be permitted? I find that surprising. My public school observes a moment of silence every day.
     
  25. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Really??? That amazes me.
     
  26. GemStone

    GemStone Habitué

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    I assume every state is different. When I was a child, I remember the state instituted a moment of silence when I was in 5th or 6th grade. The teacher folded his hands in prayer and closed his eyes. A week or so later, that was overturned. I've since moved to another state, but have never since seen a moment of silence in a public school.

    Not to get off the original topic, but I'm not sure what a daily moment of silence serves as? Silent prayer? Meditation?
     
  27. GemStone

    GemStone Habitué

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    No Christmas decorations (winter or multi-religious only), no Easter decorations (spring only.) Also, no observance in the schools of Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, or Ramadan. And certainly, no moment of silence.
     
  28. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    It can be either of those things or a time for quiet self-reflection.
     
  29. GemStone

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    I can see that. I believe, personally, that a child can take a quiet moment to pray or self-reflect without somebody coming on the announcements to start it. I see children pray in the cafeteria before eating. That's their right, but I can neither condone nor condemn it. I work for the state, and my personal religious beliefs can never come into play.
     
  30. MrsC

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    Mine does as well.
     
  31. TeacherGroupie

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    GemStone, see the beginning of the thread: the moment of silence in question isn't being suggested as a daily occurrence, but rather specifically as an observance for 9/11.
     
  32. GemStone

    GemStone Habitué

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    I understand that. I typed a response to the original post. It still would not be allowed, even for that one time.
     
  33. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    How incredibly sad. Not even because we're talking about 9/11, but because what began as an attempt to avoid having a state sponsored religion is now apparently a ban on anything bordering on reflective thought.
     
  34. MikeTeachesMath

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    I can't imagine not allowing a moment of silence in a public school. When I was in HS, we had them every year for 9/11, and the two unfortunate times we had a teacher or student pass. I really don't see moments of silence being a purely religious thing: you can either pray, or sit with your thoughts. I just don't understand banning it completely.
     
  35. MikeTeachesMath

    MikeTeachesMath Devotee

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    It's never been brought up in any of my history courses. And yes, I do agree that it needs to be preserved, but not in math class.
     
  36. TeacherGroupie

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    That's striking, GemStone. If, heaven forfend, a member of the school community died, would the moment of silence still be against the rules?
     
  37. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    It's interesting read through this thread. I plan to do some things in my English classes next week including some non-fiction reading and a poetry analysis that are based around 9/11. Most of my students don't remember it. I was only in 7th grade when it happened myself. I try to do things on all important historical days. It's obviously easier as an English teacher though. My other big days are Veteran's Day, Pearl Harbor, and Holocaust Remembrance Day.

    My (CATHOLIC!) school didn't do anything for 9/11 last year. It made me upset that they didn't even have a prayer for it. I'm in a new school and this one is public. The band goes down to the elementary school and plays patriotic pieces. I'm not sure what else they do.
     
  38. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    I agree that some of the responses were...interesting to read.

    The final decision took care of itself. I had scheduled a test for today but had to postpone it till tomorrow for a couple of reasons. So that settles the issue for this year.

    The test is for my Pre-Algebra students. Since my Algebra 1 students aren't taking the test, I asked them what type of lesson they thought would be appropriate as a tribute to 9/11. A couple of them suggested drawing pictures of the towers, either past or present, which I felt was an interesting idea. Art definitely ties into math with the use of ratios, transition images, etc.


    For tomorrow, I offer prayers for all those associated with the event or affected by it - especially our members from NY.
     
  39. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Save art for art class...if you want to integrate drawing with math, do it at another time.:2cents:
     
  40. Cerek

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    I have integrated drawing with math. I had the students do an assignment with Order of Operations just a couple of weeks ago that involved drawing a picture. Ratios, transitions and other lessons also tie into both art and math. In fact, one section of the unit on ratios and similar figures deals primarily with the use of these concepts in art.

    I do find it interesting that the lesson of drawing a picture in tribute would be fine in art, but seems to be considered inappropriate in math. The end result is still the same - a picture is being drawn in tribute of a major event.
     
  41. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Math just isn't the place for this kind of art about this kind of event.

    What would you do if a student with good intentions ended up drawing a picture of the towers with people jumping or falling? How are you going to address that? Are you going to display that drawing in your classroom?
     
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