The evolution of a video lesson

Post image for The evolution of a video lesson

by bledsoe on May 26, 2014

Here's a brief description of how I used a bunch of great stuff I found online to create two video lessons for the probability unit in my math class (Common Core Math, Year 2).

1. What did I want?

I wanted my students to learn how to use probability tree diagrams to model and solve certain probability problems, specifically ones that were difficult or impossible to solve using the tools we had worked with so far (e.g., the Multiplication Rule, the Addition Rule, Venn diagrams, etc.). I also wanted them to gain an appreciation of how tree diagrams could be used to increase their conceptual understanding of certain problems, including more complicated probability problems such as, for example, the False positive paradox, which I thought might be a compelling segue into a more in-depth understanding of conditional probabilities. Plus, it would be good to have some enrichment type stuff for my more advanced students, and this seemed like a good possibility. Finally, I wanted my students to learn how to use the Multiplication Rule and the Addition Rule to determine if two events are independent just given numerical probabilities about the events.

If you're thinking that this seems like a LOT of stuff to try to do in a single lesson, that's exactly what I thought. But that was okay. I didn't have to do all of this in a single lesson, and it's always nice to have an idea of where you want a particular topic to go eventually, even if you don't get there right away.

2. Ask the internet

I had nothing on tree diagrams, so I asked my buddy google for some suggestions. After a little bit of clicking and surfing I found the following:

http://www.mathsisfun.com/data/probability-tree-diagrams.html - this one (really good) web page by the folks at mathisfun.com eventually became a set of reading notes, a set of guided notes, a video, and a set of practice problems on tree diagrams (see below).

https://onlinecourses.science.psu.edu/stat200/node/32 - How to determine if two events are independent using numerical probabilities only.

http://www.unc.edu/~rls/s151-2010/class13.pdf - contains a really good explanation of a False Positive type problem using tree diagrams.

http://college.cengage.com/mathematics/larson/calculus_applied_life/1e/resources/app_c/1021662_App_C4.pdf - contains some really good worked-out examples of real-world type problems that use tree diagrams.

http://www.classzone.com/eservices/home/pdf/student/LA212EAD.pdf - contains some good practice problems on determining if events are independent using numerical probabilities only; also another great example of a False Positive type problem.

3. Put it together

I initially put together a set of detailed "reading notes" and practice problems on Tree Diagrams (which I basically took straight from the mathisfun.com page above) and tried it with my honors class. (Honors classes are great for trying out new stuff because they don't get freaked out if everything's not completely polished.) Based on some feedback from them, I turned the detailed/reading notes into a set of guided notes and then created a video based on the guided notes.

I did pretty much the same thing for what became my "Independence & Conditional Probability" topic, using the other resources above.

After the dust had settled I had created two new lessons and added them to my class website, each with a video, notes, and some practice problems:

6-5, Tree Diagrams: VideoNotesPractice (Detailed Notes)
6-6, Independence & Conditional Probability: VideoNotes/Practice

Total calendar time to create all this was probably about a week; total actual time spent was probably about 3 hours: 30 minutes to find the stuff I wanted online, 2 hours to create/format the notes and practice problems, and 30 minutes to record and upload the two videos.

Note that all of this new material is far from perfect; I already have several things that I want to add/modify (more practice problems, more examples for the notes, a few things I'd like to change in the videos, etc.). But the important thing is that a few weeks ago I had nothing at all on tree diagrams and now I have something, and while I did have some stuff on independence and conditional probability, now I have something better.

Which is why I call this the evolution of a video lesson. It's never really finished, in the sense that I'm always tweaking it to make it better. The most important thing is to create something; then you have something to improve on.

{ 1 comment }

What I have to say to this year’s high school graduates

May 17, 2014
Thumbnail image for What I have to say to this year’s high school graduates

Apparently when you get selected as the Garner Magnet High School Teacher of the Year, one of the things you have get to do is say a few words at the Honors Convocation, which is kind of like a mini-graduation ceremony for all of that year's honors graduates (the ones who have a 3.3 or [...]

Read the full article →

Exhaustion and Giving Stuff Away

April 5, 2014
Thumbnail image for Exhaustion and Giving Stuff Away

Someone once said that anyone who visited a typical high school classroom would come to the conclusion that “teachers work very hard, and their students watch them work very hard.” When I first heard this, I remember thinking that it was both entirely true and entirely messed up. In fact, I think that it simultaneously [...]

Read the full article →

Matt Farley is my hero

January 29, 2014
Thumbnail image for Matt Farley is my hero

If you've never heard of Matt Farley, you need to. He's a guy who's been writing about a hundred songs a day (you read that right) since 2008, and made $23,000 last year as a songwriter via royalties from iTunes and Spotify. Matt writes and records songs about almost any topic you could possibly imagine; [...]

Read the full article →

Three reasons I like my “hybrid” flipped classroom

December 28, 2013
Thumbnail image for Three reasons I like my “hybrid” flipped classroom

As I was preparing to teach a new course this semester (Common Core Math, Year 2), one of the things I had to figure out was what would be the role of video in my new class. I'd been using a flipped model for the past couple of years in both my Geometry and AFM [...]

Read the full article →

Four reasons I like Common Core Math

November 17, 2013
Thumbnail image for Four reasons I like Common Core Math

Given the many people and groups who have come out as being "for" or "against" the Common Core, I wanted to say that I've been teaching the second year of Common Core Math (CC2) in my high school math classroom since the beginning of this semester and, generally speaking, I like it. Here are four [...]

Read the full article →

Group work 2.0

November 11, 2013
Thumbnail image for Group work 2.0

I've written before about my use of group work in my high school math classroom, and while I feel like I've been getting better at coordinating it, I still wasn't completely satisfied. This year I made some changes in how I implement group work and I'm now much happier with my results. I'm now convinced [...]

Read the full article →

Is this a flipped classroom?

October 20, 2013
Thumbnail image for Is this a flipped classroom?

I've been using the flipped classroom model for the past two years in my high school math classes, and in general I'm a fan. I got started with it because I liked the idea of students doing the more passive watching-a-lecture-and-taking-notes stuff at home, then doing the more active/challenging problem-solving type work in class. Also, [...]

Read the full article →

I wish all my students would write me notes like this

September 12, 2013

No, it's not a thank-you note, it's a note a student wrote to me on a quiz. The problem asks the students to dilate a given triangle by a scale factor of 3 and to graph both triangles. When doing a dilation on an x-y grid, this is most easily done by simply multiplying each [...]

Read the full article →

My video cameras need names

August 12, 2013
Thumbnail image for My video cameras need names

Now that I have a bunch of spanking new video cameras for my classroom, I've decided to name them after famous mathematicians, and you can help me choose the names by voting in the poll in the sidebar. You can vote for as many names as you like, and you can even vote more than [...]

Read the full article →