I was starting a unit on circle geometry. I decided to give my students the opportunity to discover the circle theorems for themselves, rather than me just "teaching" them. I entered my year 11 class all excited, ready to enjoy the moment when my students discovered some great relationships associated with circles.
When I explained to my class what we were doing for the triple lesson that we had, I was surprised at their response. They were resistant to the idea, they saw it as a waste of time and wanted me to just go through the theorems for them. After some very persuasive arguments on my behalf, which they all agreed were very valid, they then started the activity.
I shared with each of my students on google drive a geogebra file for each of the circle theorems.
They were to go into each file and follow the instructions given and then record what they thought the theorem was in their own words.
As they were working through the activity, I think they finally realised why I was so passionate about them doing it, and why I thought it was the best use of this time. After the discovery lesson, we then went through each theorem and formalised them using the correct terminology. I was happy with the responses the students gave, which showed they had gained a lot from the discovery lesson.
At the end of the unit, I gave the students an opportunity to consolidate their understanding of the circle theorems by using a cut and paste activity.
They were given a sheet with the circle theorems and the diagrams all mixed up. They had to cut them out and glue the correct picture with its corresponding theorem.
One student commented as a joke "miss, this is such a waste of time". This was his referral back to their initial reaction to the discovery lesson.
That first lesson was not just a discovery lesson for my students, but a big one for me. I realised that my students are relying too much on their teachers to deliver them content that they are too afraid to make discoveries themselves. This has made me rethink what I am doing, and has made me more aware about offering all my students opportunity to discover things and become more independent learners.