Teaching Middle School Through Instructables

I am a junior high math and shop/technology teacher.

For years I have been wanting to develop a math program that uses as much hands on as possible. 

Like all teachers, I have developed a few projects, but just don't have the time to develop all the activities needed to cover an entire curriculum.

I would love to correspond/collaborate with others (including non teachers).

Email me directly if you are interested.  mikemckay@pwsd76.ab.ca

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Goodhart5 years ago
DId you see what I am planning for a 7 year old aspie friend of mine? We will be turning the building of a model scorpion into an ible. Hopefully I wil be able to get her imput and also modify the thing a bit so we can make it even cooler (plus she'll learn all the insides of the scorpion). She hasn't been told yet "what" the project is, but she has an idea, and she is definitely interested in this kind of thing.

The topic can be found here.....let me know if you have any additions or helpful hints I could use....I have  never taught one so young before, even though she is way beyond a second grade level in reading etc.  
mikemckay (author)  Goodhart5 years ago
Hey, neat project.

After she finishes building it, get her to number the parts according to this diagram I swiped from wikipedia's scoropion article. Then maybe you and her could make a display case to put it in (little wood, some plexiglas...)

You might then show here pictures of lobsters, crawdads and other similar creatures and see if she thinks they might be related (I'm not a biology type person, so I don't really know about this).

Lastly, sometimes those one dollar shops sell keychains with scorpions encased in a block of clear resin. This could lead to discussion of the concept of scale.

Just out of interest, I think we guys in Alberta might have the most northern species of scorpion in north america.
Hey, neat project. 

After she finishes building it, get her to number the parts according to this diagram I swiped from wikipedia's scoropion article.  Then maybe you and her could make a display case to put it in (little wood, some plexiglas...)

You mioght then show here pictures of lobsters, crawdads and other similar creatures and see if she thinks they might be related (I'm not a biology type person, so I don't really know about this).  Lastly, sometimes those one dollar shops sell keychains with scorpions encased in a block of clear resin.  This could lead to discussion of the concept of scale.

http://talkaboutwildlife.ca/profile/?s=1492

Kids that age are great; they love learning and we have to get as much into them before they hit Junior High and "turn off".  Sorry for my ignorance but what is an "aspie"?
Scorpion_anatomy.png
Many of the parts are a bit small to "tag" with numbers BUT they are color coded so we can do it by means of a chart with the already used colors....thanks for the idea.

She is already fairly familiar with many arthropods, so she won't mistake a scorpion for a crustacean (just teasing a bit). Scorpions are of the Phylum: arthropod, of the order of Scorpiones, in the class of Arachnida.   This makes them more like a spider then say a crab, lobster or crayfish (which aren't fish either).  

They are not very big with the one we are doing being of the family  Hemiscorpiidae, the genus of Hadogenes and the species being Troglodytes, the largest being around 20 cm in length (almost 8 inches) with the longest recorded one being 23  cm (a little over 9 inches long). 

The model we will be doing will be approximately 1/1 scale maybe being slightly but not very much, larger then the original.

 And, to explain two things in one paragraph, this child is a bit special.  She has Asperger's Syndrome which is a form of Autism, but displays a very HIGH function in a few selected areas.   This particular child, age 7, can name nearly every dinosaur that lived, and explain what their names mean, their habitat, food sources, living conditions and areas, etc etc.  She is great with human anatomy, insects (and arachnids i.e. spiders, ticks, mites, and......scorpions :-) .   She LOVES history, and is very knowledgeable about Roman history especially.   Don't forget, we are speaking of a SEVEN year old :-D   (around the same age I was dissecting batteries and taking tape recorders, etc. apart for parts LOL). 
She loves to construct robots and mechanical things (WE tend to like machines over some humans as humans can be fickle and odd at times, while a machine will never treat you badly on purpose;  I say we because I, my psychologist, and my family contend I have Asperger's Syndrome also).   Thus the abbreviation AS or as known among ourselves,  Aspies.  Some do not care for that rather less than onomastic name however.
And this also explains why I went into so much detail here.  My apologies if I droned on too long. 



mikemckay (author)  Goodhart5 years ago
Thanks for the ASPie definition.

Looking back over my 15 year teaching career, I realize that I have taught several ASPie's without knowing it.  The last one I taught was diagnosed before coming to me. So I did some research.  And when I viewed the video that you sent me of Temple Grandin, it helped confirm a lot of the behaviours I have seen.

If I were to summarize my theories on teaching kids, I would have to say that recognizing diversity in kids and encouraging within their diversities is the key.  I now know that ASPie's love detail, and to encourage a child with Asperger's you have to learn to capitalize on their love of detail. 

So it looks like you are doing a good job with your little friend. I think that Temple Grandin video should be required viewing for anyone going into teaching. 

In closing, I would like to say thanks for your input.  They say that Asperger's is an autism spectrum disorder.  I have come to realize that everyone is on some sort of spectrum and my job is to recognize and encourage people to be able to related to others on the spectrum.  Your input helps.
Here is the ible, 99% finished (we got it put together, but I haven't put the mod in it yet).
Reading your posts gives me a bit more hope for the students subjected to teaching these days (oh, wait, you're in Canada; never mind ...).

When I went through public school 30-40 years ago, all but one of my teachers were flexible, thoughtful, and focused on having all of their students learn as much as they could. If that meant spending extra time with the "slow" ones (yeah, we still used that term), or getting a textbook or box of "self-paced reading cards" from two classes ahead for a "bright" one, they would do it.

I don't think I was in any sort of exceptional place: I went to a lower middle-class public school in suburban California. But I got enough support that I still remember the names of several of my elementary and middle school teachers.

Thank you for being a big part of a critical profession!
I didn't see "support", sadly, until I was nearly 50 *sigh* I am glad also to see at least someone wanting to do it correctly.
Yes, and thank you for being one in a million....I wish I had had a teacher with even half your dedication and understanding when I was in school.
mikemckay (author) 5 years ago
I would like to thank all of you for your kind comments here.

Please be advised that I am just a "Joe Schmoe" teacher. I don't think I'm any better than the rest of my colleagues.  I may sound good on a comment page but I still suffer from the "not enough time to do everything I want to do for the kids".

I say this because I don't want my head to swell.  But I sincerely believe that if we learned through doing, the majority of us would learn better.  I also believe that math is probably one of the hardest topics to learn through doing.  Hence my presence here, polling you people for your ideas on how we can teach kids through instructables.

One last thing.  I do believe teachers are better paid in Canada than in the states.  The pay grids for teachers in Alberta, Canada can be found by going to www.teachers.ab.ca and thumbing through the "collective agreements" for the different school districts.  I think being paid well does help because it makes you feel like you are recognized for the job that you do.

Again, thanks for the kind comments, but enough before my head starts to swell.
Goodhart5 years ago
This brings up an interesting idea concerning visual thinkers.....looking at a "line drawing" may not be "relatable" to the actual object it represents (like a schematic or blue print).....about 24 minutes into this she mentions it.
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