A blog about teaching and learning in a maths classroom.

Teaching Year 10 with Laptops

Sunday, 07 February 2010 | 2 Comments

In 2009, Year 9 got their DER netbooks and now they are in Year 10.  This year’s Year 9 does not have their netbooks yet, and so this gives teachers a little time to get their heads around the inclusion of netbooks into the classroom.  This year, I’m teaching a 5.2 pathway Year 10 class (and a Year 9 5.2 class).

The one thing I learnt from using netbooks with Year 9 in 2009, is that their inclusion is best done as a whole lesson activity.  An additional or alternative activity at the end of a lesson is not effective due to the time for login and dealing with technical issues.

However, the problem with consuming a whole lesson for a laptop activity is that it has to be worthwhile.  I think this is where many teachers will struggle.  If they have an effective lesson already, why change it?  For me, my lessons may be effective, but how do I make them more so with the laptops?  Does having a lesson using the laptop near the start of the unit establish a better foundation for the rest of the unit?

To start planning for the inclusion of netbooks, here’s a summary of what I’ll be covering in 2010.  At the moment, some topics have nothing beside them – hopefully they will be filled in later.  Feel free to share in the comments how you will be tackling these topics with the laptops.


Over the summer holidays, I took an online course called GeoGebra: A Dynamic Approach to Yr 9-10 Trigonometry.  Whilst a little pricey for an online course, I have attended the presenter’s (Richard Andrew) courses in the past and appreciated the practical nature of them.

Basically, this course suggests a number of ways of using GeoGebra in place of something you might already do in the classroom.  For example, using GeoGebra to investigate the ratio of sides in a right-angled triangle and finding the relationship by recording the results in Excel.

Other ways the course suggested using GeoGebra was for demonstration purposes, but also getting the students to create their own files which demonstrate the solution to a problem.  I see using the netbooks with my class to be a benefit for problem solving, an aspect of trigonometry which they would normally struggle with.  GeoGebra will make it far more visual, and maybe a little bit fun.

Consumer Arithmetic

There’s the obvious spreadsheet work that can be included.
I might try to include a research activity, for example, looking at the Award for various occupations.



I’ll definitely include the World’s Fastest Clapper




I’m going to re-read Kate’s post Triangle Congruence Theorems.  This is what I like about teacher’s blogging, Kate plainly states “Triangle Congruence Theorems are so boring, and there is no nice way to teach them” and then throws around some ideas and seeks input.

Reasoning in Geometry (Angles)

Data Representation and Analysis


Graphing Linear Equations

This post will hopefully be updated as I go.

Posted in • Lesson IdeaCongruenceConsumer ArithmeticRatesTrigonometrySoftwareExcelGeoGebraTechnologyDigital Education RevolutionLaptops 4 Learning | Short URL:


monika hardy on  07 February 10  at  10:34 PM #
gosh - when I first read your title, I thought you were saying you'd taught with laptops for 10 years.. imagine that.. So - here's my 2 cents: you wrote: This is what I like about teacher’s blogging, Kate plainly states “Triangle Congruence Theorems are so boring, and there is no nice way to teach them” and then throws around some ideas and seeks input. I see the reason for a laptop more for that kind of enrichment.. Not a lesson per se. I see it as connections to people and info we wouldn't otherwise have in the classroom. Have your kids hook up with another math class - say in Africa or Colorado.. or have them make their own virtual groups: 1 kid from grade 7, 2 from their class, one from college, a parent, an expert that you find them.. then give them a topic and have them research it.. or let them pick a topic, maybe the group they picked all share some passion or question they can investigate together. Do you have a platform - like a ning site for them to form study groups in? I wouldn't try to fit things around the laptop, I would just view it as an extension, like one of their appendages.. Back channeling during discussions would be nice as well.
Ella Rogers on  08 February 10  at  06:05 PM #
My students are totally engaged when I include online math games within a lesson or as homework. The repetition and association that games = fun really helps them capture the subjects. My class really enjoys [url=][/url], a new site with Algebra, Geometry, Quizzes, etc. Has anyone else had success with online math games?

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Simon Job — eleventh year of teaching maths in a public high school in Western Sydney, Australia.
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