Conway’s Ropes

“This is going on my fridge.” -Student [1]

It’s the end of the year and seniors have senioritis bad. So what do you do to combat that? Use Fawn’s stuff, of course!

Here’s a cool activity that she shared about twisting ropes. My seniors spent 3 class days on it. At first, they were bored. [2] But by the third day, they were really into it!! (see quote above)

Favorite line from the second video: “This is cool!”

Other notes

  • We spent 2 days just moving with the ropes and writing stuff down.
  • I had to explain what “Rotate” means to the on the third day (I won’t spill the beans here!) because they hadn’t figured it out yet, and probably wouldn’t on their own. [3]
  • I’m also doing this with the Juniors in Precal, who are supposedly 1 year “ahead” in math, so we’ll see how this goes with them. [4]
  • Even after explaining what “Rotate” means, there was some good math for them to do.  I somewhat anticipated this but wasn’t copmletely sure about because I hadn’t done the math on my own (oops)!
  • Jump-ropes stolen borrowed from the PE class work great for this, so you don’t have to buy your own ropes!
  • I was missing nearly half my class due to AP testing, so many missed out on the final product.

[1] Talking about his work, which didn’t even receive a grade.

[2] It was 1st period, on a Monday, on their last week of school. And it was raining outside.

[3] Fawn didn’t have to share it with her Geometry students, yet my Precalculus students needed it! I think it has to do with curiosity and how seniors have, unfortunately lost a lot of their creativity & curiosity.

[4] I can already see that they (the Juniors) are more curious. Probably cause they’ve been told that they’re good at math for a long time.


1 Comment

Filed under Teaching

One response to “Conway’s Ropes

  1. Motivation is such a subtle thing sometimes. Playing this with my little kids today, my 8 year old doesn’t want any hints about the rotation operation and just wants to keep conjecturing and testing. At other times working on homework, he can really get agitated and just want the answer. I think it has something to do with how adults are acting (are we signalling that the answer is important?)

    Frankly, I wish you hadn’t told your seniors and just left it as a graduation gift to them. Who knows, it might have become the single most lasting memory of their time in high school.

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