The mobile math classroom

Alzar School | 01.10.12

For now, the math classroom moves throughout the day with the weather.  All math courses at Alzar School are taught in the morning and during second period, it’s pretty darn cold out as Fall approaches.  So the Algebra 2 students all meet in the spacious and warm barn classroom.  For homework, the students are watching video lectures to learn the basics of graphing and translating linear equations.  Then when class time rolls around, students are ahead of the curve and we can all collaborate on problem solving and applications.  Check out this video of the Khan Academy resource to get an idea of how our classroom incorporates technology daily.

As the sun rises, we push the massive whiteboard-on-wheels outside and AP Calculus takes place with Snowbank Mountain in the background.  Our senior ladies have demonstrated great recollection of previous courses and the complex algebra associated with polynomials, exponents, logarithms, and trigonometric functions.  We are now applying the limit process to find derivatives and instantaneous rates of change.  “What did we just do?  How are we going to use this?” asked one student upon seeing the derivative for the first time.  “And that right there,” I responded, “is what we are studying for the rest of the semester!”

It took Aaron about 12 seconds and an iPad to take this photo of the day’s important notes and share it with the rest of the class

By fourth period, my nose starts getting sunburned, so I duck into the shade for pre-calculus.  With only three students in class, everyone gets their voices heard and their questions answered.  Lately we have been studying the inner workings of a tiny little magical box called the graphing calculator.  The Intermediate Value Theorem gets used in computer programming to find irrational zeros of polynomial functions.  With upcoming exploration of complex numbers, we’ll soon be finding imaginary zeros as well!

-Dan Thurber

Resident Math Nerd