Thursday, October 6, 2016

Have You Used Flow Charts in Math?

Mark, Marker, Hand, Leave The other day,  my Algebra II class started the section on solving systems of equations using elimination.  My first note read something like "Look to see if there are two of the same variables that are the same except they have opposite signs."

Rather than list the steps, I could easily create a flow chart for students to follow as they work through each process.  There would be three work flows. The first if the equations have the same variable with opposite signs.  The second if one variable could be multiplied to create the variable with the opposite sign or the third if both equations  have to be multiplied.

I created this one on a free flow chart last night so my students could use it to help determine whether they should use SSS, SAS, AAS, ASA, or HL to prove congruence.  Its not designed to help them create proofs, just something to help them decide which one to use.

I gave a couple Tuesday night at study hall and they loved it. It will help because the next activity has them determining which one they need to prove triangle congruence.  One young man thought it was cool.

Flowcharts could also be used to help solve simple one and two step equations.  I'm awondering if I could design a flow chart for trig ratio or trig identities?  Since I work with ELL students who hate to read, I think this might make it easier for them to learn the material because they don't have to do much reading.

I scribble the basic design out on scratch paper, go to the site and create it.  In addition, this is exposing them to a real word skill often used in the work place.  I first learned it when I took some computer programing classes.  Now its used in so many different situations.

I may be wrong but I see flow charts as a specific type of mind mapping which is used to organize information and material.   This is just another way to present information to students in a way they might find easier to use.

Let me know what you think.