The Teachers’ guide for the Classroom Challenges describes the overall pedagogy of both the paper-based and FACT versions of the Classroom Challenges. It discusses how these lessons differ from ordinary math lessons, why they should be used and how to establish the appropriate classroom roles and culture for using them most effectively.
Hardware: FACT requires that the teacher have a tablet that they can carry with them as they circulate through the class. The classroom should have a digital projector or SmartBoard. Every student in the class should have a laptop or tablet to use during the lesson. All these devices need to be on the internet.
Software: All the devices mentioned above need to have the Chrome browser installed. FACT is a web app. It does not need to be installed.
Accounts: Before using FACT for the first time, teachers should send email to firstname.lastname@example.org and ask for an account. Once they have an ID and password set up, they can log into https://fact.asu.edu from a Chrome browser on any laptop or tablet. Students do not need accounts on FACT. Only teachers need accounts.
Trying FACT out. In order to determine if FACT is appropriate, teachers should select a lesson from the lists below, set up a fake class, then try out the lesson in FACT. They can do this at home. They don’t need to be in the classroom. If teachers who have already used FACT want to teach a new lesson, they should also try it out first with a fake class.
The video below describes how to use a fake class to try out FACT. A little further below is a brief synopsis.
If you run into trouble or anticipate trouble while trying FACT out, we would be happy to Zoom with you so you can try FACT out while sharing your screen with us. Just send email to email@example.com and suggest some times when you have an hour free. The following paragraph gives a brief overview of using a fake class to try out FACT.
To begin, teachers log into FACT, click “Add class” and provide a name (e.g., “fake 2”). They then click on the Dashboard button next to the class. This causes FACT to display the teachers’ dashboard. The dashboard displays a 4-digit class join code. Next, teachers should populate the class with some fake students. To create a fake student, teachers open a new tab in the Chrome browser, go to fact.asu.edu, and log in as a student (any name is fine) by entering the class join code. In order to check out the lesson’s group activities, teachers should create at least two fake students and assign them the same group number (e.g., 1) as they log the students in. Lastly, teachers should open a new Chrome tab and log into FACT as the projector. Teachers can now select their lesson. By clicking on the Next button, they can walk through the sequence of lesson activities. At each activity, teachers can see what students will see by viewing the Chrome tabs for the fake students and the Chrome tab for the projector. They can “play student” to see what is displayed on the teacher’s dashboard when students make mistakes or get stuck. In this fashion, teachers can become familiar with FACT and the specifics of the lesson they’ve chosen.
Pre-assessment: All Classroom Challenges start with a 15-minute pre-assessment, which is done individually by students. Teachers typically do this on the day before the main lesson so that they can analyze the student’s work and decide how to focus the lesson. With FACT, the pre-assessment also lets student learn how to use FACT before they undertake the main lesson. So lets assume that teacher conduct a pre-assessment on the first day and the main lesson on the second day. Here’s an overview of the first day.
Teachers log into FACT, select an existing class or create a new one, click on its Dashboard button, and select the day’s lesson. Using the computer that drives the classroom projector or Smartboard, teachers open a Chrome tab and tell the projector or SmartBoard to display that Chrome tab. They then log into fact.asu.edu as projector using that tab. When the students are ready, teachers tell them to go to fact.asu.edu and log in using their name and the class join code. They can ignore the group number because the pre-assessment is an individual activity, not a group activity. When students log in, they get a scratch document to play around with and explore the features of FACT’s student user interface. Typically, at least one student will have hardware or software difficulties. As teachers deal with these, the rest of the class can learn the FACT user interface by editing the scratch poster (“poster” is FACT jargon for the document or workspace that student’s edit). When all the students have logged in and played sufficiently to learn the user interface (only a few minutes, typically), then teachers should advance the class to the first activity, with is called the pre-assessment. As the students work individually on the pre-assessment, the teacher can view their work using the Dashboard. This allows teachers to estimate the class’s current understanding, which is helpful for pacing the main lesson. When the pre-assessment is completed (about 15 minutes), everyone should log out of FACT.
Main lesson: To prepare for the main lesson, teachers should assign students to groups. FACT works best if groups have only two students, but it will still function fine with larger groups. Teachers must find a way to tell every student their group number by preparing a PowerPoint slide, a handout, writing on the blackboard, stickies on desks, etc.
On the second day, teachers log in, reopen the class, open the dashboard and select the lesson. Teachers again set up the projector. As the students log in using their name and the class join code, they should enter their group numbers. Typically, some students are absent, so the teacher will have to reorganize the groups somewhat. The Dashboard makes it easy to do this. The rest of the class can continue to explore the user interface by messing with the scratch poster. When all the students are logged in and assigned to the proper group, teachers conduct the lesson. When the lesson is completed (about 50 to 80 minutes), everyone logs out. If the class doesn’t finish the main lesson in one day, then the class can simply log out at any time; on the next day, everyone can log in and resume where they left off.
Fully Supported Classroom Challenges
These lessons have all the latest features of FACT and are fully tested. In particular, they support recording audio explanations, and they implement the most recent pedagogical policies.
The title of the lesson is linked to the MAP page that describes the paper version of the lesson. FACT was developed before the paper versions were finalized. Thus, some minor details differ between FACT and paper versions. Sometimes the titles differ, too.
- Increasing and decreasing quantities by a percent. Students discover the mathematical relationship between N and M in “X is up by N% from Y” and “Y is down by M% from X” e.g, “$150 is up by 50% from $100” and “$100 is down by 33 1/3% from $150”
- Interpreting distance-time graphs. Grade 8. Students discover how features of distance-time graphs match features of stories and tables.
- Solving linear equations in one variable. Grade 7. Students decide whether equations are sometimes true, always true or never true.
- Solving linear equations. Grade 7. Students match algebra story problems to equations.
Partially Supported Classroom Challenges
These lessons involve more complex problem solving. The activities often involve entering text or drawing. Some of FACT’s more advanced features (e.g., speech understanding) have not yet been implemented with these lessons. Moreover, they are not as carefully tested as the lessons above, so there may be glitches. If you try out one of these lessons with a fake class, and would like us to remove the glitches, please send email to firstname.lastname@example.org and describe them as best you can.
- Estimating counting trees. Grade 7. Students invent strategies for sampling and estimating the number of trees in dense forest.
- Modeling situations with linear equations. Grade 8. Students analyze the relationships between a situation, a graph and a linear equation.
- Sharing costs traveling to school. Grade 6. Students invent a fair method to share car pooling costs, given that they travel differing distances.
- Solving real-life problems: Baseball jerseys. Grade 8. Students analyze the tradeoffs between different pricing schemes for custom baseball jerseys whose initial set up costs and price per jersey varies.