The end is approaching way too quickly! My students only have two full days left before the district mandated days of final exams on Monday and Tuesday. Today the plan was to create flexahexagons, and if time allowed we were going to make origami cubes. It turns out that time did not allow for the cubes like the ones in this video.
We began our activity by watching this Video, and then we colored these Patterns as per our individual likings. We then reviewed these Directions and began the process of folding our flexes as directed. I utilized my document camera and demonstrated the folds and then worked one on one with individuals when it became apparent that frustration levels were rising to an unproductive level. By the end of each class period every student had created a successful flexagon, and I managed to keep from pulling every strand of hair out of my head. This activity was one that we had been looking forward to for a while now. We had tried the activity earlier in the year, but wound up ditching it because student’s frustration level was not productive and tears have no place in a math classroom! Today many students still experienced high frustration levels and struggled, but there were no tears, no giving up and all were successful. I was made keenly aware of several students who seem to have some serious spatial awareness challenges. I am already thinking toward next school year and lessons or instructional routines that I can incorporate into our investigations to help students develop this ability. I will also ask our Occupational Therapist about age appropriate activities to utilize in my classes.
The best moments of my day happened in last hour. As students finished up their projects and flexed them for the first time you could hear loud gasps and excited voices exclaiming how cool their flexes were. My very favorite was when one giddy young lady proclaimed with excitement and awe in her voice, “Mrs. Naegele knows black magic!” I kind of like the idea of having magical powers and am blessed that I can still bring the wow factor even to the most skeptical middle schooler! Oh my goodness, I LOVE these kids! I don’t know how I am going to get through summer without them!
Update: When my 20 year old daughter, who is home from college, came home from work tonight I showed her my flex. She wanted to make one so I showed her how. When she flexed her creation for the first time she declared that I am magic and wanted to know how I got it! It’s a slam dunk day when you can impress your students AND your grown daughter!