Relevant Questions

As nine-weeks tests are around the corner, I wanted to shine some light on a major mistake  I made when I wrote a Trigonometry test on the Law of Cosines and Law of Sines. I found the problem below from problem-attic. 

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As an avid skier, I thought this problem was awesome. However, I never realized that many of my kids had neither been to a mountain nor been on a chair lift. Unfortunately, this experience-gap led to major confusion during the problem solving process. Here are the words from one of my students: 

“The ski lift problem was very confusing. I’ve never been skiing so I couldn’t picture how the angles and sides were. It would have been better if Mr. S would’ve used a water slide or something familiar for us.” 

In hindsight, I would still use this problem, but I would introduce the problem in class when we could discuss skiing, how mountains look, and why there are ski lifts. Even though such things are non-existent in Mississippi, I believe our students should be familiar with foreign activities and experiences to prepare them for time spent outside of Mississippi. 

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