My 10th grade Geometry classes missed two critical years of in-person schooling in middle school.
One thing I've noticed is that these students seem to have more trouble than I had anticipated, and one of the things they seemed to struggle with most is working with a physical protractor in 3-dimensional space. The idea of using a physical tool to measure a spatial object seemed very foreign to almost everybody.
Every time I encounter something like this in our post-pandemic world, I've learned to ask myself what impact distance learning may have had on the students who were stuck at home. My training, my experience, and my own research have taught me that our physical organism moves towards health, so long as we assist it. That makes me want to treat this problem not as a deficit of mind but rather as a gap in experience.
I realized I needed to create an activity that would backfill this gap in experience and empower students to move forward from where they are.
So here is my Angle Measuring Practice activity from today. There may be typos or my own silly measuring errors because I'm tired.
Start by printing and hanging angles #1 - 12 around the room. Kids at each table number (#1 - 9) start their measuring journey at their corresponding angle number. Everybody measures every angle. Table members compare measurements and call me over for a read through. We check for understanding -- did you accidentally start your measuring from 180 rather than 0? Clarify that. Support kids at measuring stations by asking/showing where the vertex goes. How do you align one side of the angle against the protractor?
Kids will start clarifying for each other. This is good.
When they complete the circuit, whole tables called me over for a check. We talked about estimation and levels of precision.
Then I gave them level #2 with instructions. Now they have to check their own work, using what they know about linear pairs and the sum of their measures.
When they finished, they did level 3.
I don't know what it is about hanging stuff around the room and getting kids standing up, but it works. By the time they finished the circuit of the room, they were deep into the work.
Physical collaboration is powerful.
This reminded me to use it.