Meet Stan. Stan's the sort of guy you end up with when you decide to change your bellwork five minutes before class starts. In a rush, you search google images for the perfect picture of a coordinate plane. You find one that even has points already marked by letters.
You want to start involving the class in some error analysis. So, you have a fictional character wrongly identify one of the points. Oh, this fictional character needs a name. Does the name really matter? No, not as long as you pick a name that doesn't belong to one of your students. Stan will work.
Now, you have Stan misidentifying a point on the coordinate plane. You give your students this information and ask them if Stan is correct. Most importantly, you ask students to justify their answer. Why is Stan correct? Or, why is Stan incorrect?
Something is still missing though. What does Stan look like? Since the bell is about to ring and students are going to be streaming in your class, eager to do the bellwork, any minute now, you decide to enter "boy" into the search box inside the Smart Board Gallery. Stan is who you end up with. Sure, he's a little weird looking, but the students won't notice...
- Students will notice that Stan is a little weird looking.
- Students will want to draw a mustache on Stan to make him a little less weird looking.
- Students won't always answer the "Why?" question in the way you expect them to.
My Favorite Answer
To illustrate the last lesson learned, I present to you my favorite answer of the day to the "Why?" question:
Me: Is Stan correct?
Student: No. He's wrong.
Student: His math teacher isn't as smart as my math teacher.