Tag Archives: Activity

“What’s a Good Question?” Activity

Today I did Alex Overwijk’s “What’s a Good Question?” activity, down to using the very same image.

Here’s the Google Presentation I made to go with the activity:

(Link to the document if the above embedding doesn’t work)

One think I did to add to Alex’s activity was at the beginning, when my students (who are seniors) were having trouble writing down more than a few questions (even though I asked for any and all questions!). I decided to talk about the paper clip challenge involving divergent thinking. They were inspired when they heard that kindergartners do the best on the “test”.

After that short 5-ish min test (I had them do the challenge and then just talked about it, but next time I might show the video!), students went back to the question-writing with more vigor, and the rest of the lesson went very well.

Here are some questions:



How much glycogen does it need to survive?

How much glycogen does it need to survive?

Best question (my opinion) and the one we actually tackled:

How many ppl would it take to hug the entire trunk?

How many ppl would it take to hug the entire trunk?

Here are some of the answers to “What makes a good question?” snowball:






And then we had time for the “tree hugging” question!





There were 15 people in the class at the time (of course nearly half the class is dismissed on a field trip when I go to do this critical lesson!) so we were able to test out and see if our estimations (ranging from 13 to 16 people) was reasonable.

One Big Tree!

One Big Tree!

They agreed that it looked pretty reasonable!

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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.

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