Thursday, June 30, 2011

Need Some Teaching Help

I teach this class that uses vector calculus to derive the equations of motion in the atmosphere.  Yeah, sounds like a blast, right?  That's why I need some help.  Maybe you can give me some advice?  I'm teaching this class for the second time this fall and am going through the motions of trying to improve it, but I think I need to take a step back and look at a few big picture teaching philosophy ideas first. 
  1. What did your favorite math/science/engineering/derivation class teacher or professor do to keep you interested or at least not lost?
  2. What are they teaching in high school teacher training these days that I could use in my class?  I'm thinking some of the cool tools that high school math teachers use, I could use.  
  3. I've tried making digital notes that I can scroll through during class, then fill in the holes with example problems on the white board.  Any better ideas for presenting this material? Anyone else hate white boards with a passion?  Come to think of it, my white board is behind my projector screen, so this option won't even work in this classroom!  Maybe I can get a chalkboard mounted on a side wall. 
  4. Lastly, I'm having a hard time organizing my materials for this course physically.  So I have a 5 inch binder of last year's notes, exams, homeworks, keys.  I have three textbooks that I use, an old notebook, a new notebook both filled with sample problems.  I usually organize digitally, but I'm not about to scan in a notebook's worth of sample problems.  Any organizational tips?  Is the 3-ring binder the way to go with those nice post-it tabs? 
I guess I just haven't mastered the upper level class yet.  I'm so used to my intro classes where I have colorful pictures, demos, labs, stories to go with every lesson.  It's hard not being good at this yet!  Help!

A little flavor of my current digital notes:
If I can't get anywhere with this class, I might just have to do live prep during the fall and switch to my next summer goal of creating computer labs.  Help!


Anonymous said...

For #1, my teachers kept me interested in the derivations by using the derived equations to solve real world problems. E.g. at what speed should we drive to only catch GREEN lights if the traffic lights switch at certain intervals... Or we've derived the vorticity equation, now let's see what this equation tell about pressure change in the next 6 hrs or something along those lines.
#2 no comment since I didn't go to high school in the States. In Europe, people just learn because they've been better disciplined.
#3. Your idea of using the white board is cool, but the glare would make it a really pain (depending where you sat in class). The good old overhead projectors rule!!!
#4. If it ain't digitized, then you are stuck with the 3-ring binder. That's how I roll, too.

Good luck!

Pat said...

I'm sorry - you just brought back bad memories of school. I hated math and I hated science! So everything you just mentioned made me want to hide under my covers and pretend to be sick so I don't have to go to school today.

Can you project onto the white board so you can fill in the holes on the whiteboard between the digital notes that are projected?

I just wanted to say - you are waaayyy more intelligent than me so I think you will do great however you approach it.

Good luck.

YellowBunnies said...

Thank you Thank you!