Thursday, February 15, 2018

Ozobotting Quadratics

Previously, I wrote a blog about the impact computer science, specifically, Ozobots had made on my classroom with just a couple of days of using them.  You can find that post here.

My next challenge was to work them directly into my content.  One of the TEKS of Math Models is A.7A which is graphing and identifying the key features of a quadratic.  Also in the state of Texas, we have process standards which includes students applying a number of skills from math to life and the real world as well as using problem solving skills and methods.  I felt that these could combine well to make an Ozobots Quadratic Project for Math Models or Algebra 1!

So, I then went about deciding how to 'Ozobot' Quadratics.  I wanted to make them all easily identifiable characteristics that the Ozobot could 'mark' with color coding.  

**Teacher Tip**  We have only done a couple of days of color coding and as the project got started, I realized the students needed to do a bit more Ozobot practice with freehand coding.  The previous days we practiced with pre-printed activities and the accuracy was marked for you.  While many did play around and go beyond, they still needed to practice their precision with the color coding without a template.  As a result, many projects had correction pieces of paper taped on.  In the future, I will account and deduct for this.  Live and learn is the motto for me every time I try something new!

I created this project rubric as I was going to spend several days on it and it would be a major grade. 

I have edited it to be a bit more precise after completing the project. 

I also carefully selected equations that would fit on gridded chart paper and have integer solutions and axis of symmetry. 
I had students make their axis fit the equation to utilize as much of the gridded chart paper as possible.  Some had differently scaled x and y axis and that really stretched their math comfort zone.  Talk about high level application for students so accustomed to one method or practice for completing graphing.  The first day, students randomly chose equations (I had them written on Popsicle sticks that each group drew).  I had them complete a rough draft on graph paper before providing the chart paper that included their scaling and table.  

Since then, I have assigned equations to allow for differentiation.

I have taught classes in the past that are project based and as a result, I know the cost of chart paper so do not give students extra! 

The first day (50 minute class periods), majority of the groups got the graph on the chart paper ready for coding.  A couple started coding... without practicing... and had to re-do.  crazy what happens when they do not follow teacher instructions, isn't it?!?!?

On the second day, when they came in, I reminded them to practice coding on scratch paper before trying on their poster.  This is a very tedious precision needed skill and requires practice just like anything we want to master.  For those of you not familiar with the Ozobots, they require color coding to perform.  Here is a student sample...

Ozobot provides a wonderful template for free on their website.  You can get it here.

I have all mine laminated with thicker lamination to be durable.

On day 2 of the project, groups began coding.  Several finished but this is a precision task and time is necessary.

Sometimes the Ozobots can be 'temperamental' so often re-calibrating or getting another one can help.  Also, tracing over the lines repeatedly or thick pencil marks can effect coding.  If a code did not work that they put on the poster I provided a small piece of white paper to put the correct code on.  They would then tape along the edges (after testing it) and apply to the chart paper where it needed to execute.  I feel that this would not have occurred as frequently with more freehand coding practice prior to the assignment, as I stated earlier.  Live and learn!  Here is a picture of a well done correction.  In the overall picture it did not really detract form the project.

And here is their completed project in action.

Unfortunately the paper placement in the above video caused Ozobot to fall at the end and they needed to re-shoot the end of the video!  I loved their enthusiasm for a correctly finished project.

Day 3 was completing, troubleshooting, filming and grading.  I used what seemed to be the most accurate at reading code Ozobot.  There were a few times that a too broad line before the vertex would have read the day before but not grading day so I would allow for re-runs of the Ozobot or me going nuts trying to figure out why.  It is really about the precision with which the lines were drawn and will be a continual learning process.

Here is an excellent finished graph with explanations along the way!

I had some excellent projects and my enthusiasm was heard by everyone!  All my poor twitter, Instagram and Facebook followers were bombarded with my excitement and exaltation for days!  If you are interested in seeing additional pictures and videos, check out my twitter @CBHSRichMath.  

I will admit that since this was my first time giving the project, I graded a little leniently but plan on being more strict in the future with adjustments.  I will definitely allow for more time to practicing coding freehand.  I already made a revised project outline and rubric with more specific directives.  I will plan 3 days instead of 2.  I will have them practice graphing quadratics once more before the project (we had only done one day prior to the project).  

Since I saw certain quadratic graphing issues after the project, I followed up with this worksheet on graphing.  

The solutions are not exact but I wanted them to practice the actual graphing and finding the vertex or 'Oreo' in the calculator.  This is also why I did not provide tables.  I also frequently have students just 'sketch' what they see on the calculator screen.... regardless of what they have been taught or verbally reminded of.

I cannot say enough about how computer science has changed my outlook on teaching math.  How critical it is to math and the real life lessons they learned when doing it.  I was asked how this relates to the math class and as I have said before, there is no more important fundamental than the order of operations.  The interviewer (ok, so it was the school newspaper but that sounded fancy!) then asked how this will benefit them in the real world.  We all need to complete steps in order to accomplish tasks.  We all need to be able to troubleshoot jobs and tasks in order to complete them.  We all need to be accurate and precise to do things correctly.  I feel Ozobots in the math classroom help with all these.  I am so excited I was able to work this important life skill into math concepts and reinforce both.

Thank you and if you see any mistakes or have anything to share, please do!


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