Below are some lightly edited notes from the most recent Escape meeting at Willard Middle School in Berkeley. Our next meeting is tentatively set for Saturday, June 2nd somewhere in San Francisco.

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Escape from the Textbook meeting: March 24, 2012

**Introductions**

We spent the first part of the session exploring the game of

** Set. **Over the course of the morning
there were a few other games/ideas mentioned including

**Eleusis**,

**Attributes Blocks **(similar
to set except with physical blocks),

**Spot
It** and

**Ricochet Robot. **

We played the game for a bit, but then worked on solving and
creating mathematical puzzles. Below are some examples:

* What is the maximum number of cards you can have without a
set?

* Can you make a strip (a train) where any three cards next
to one another are share the same number of characteristics?

* Games could be created with these cards similar to
dominoes

* Start with some number of cards in your hand. Continue to
play cards that do NOT make a set with the cards on the table.

* How many cards are in the deck?

* How many different sets can one card be a part of?

* How many different sets can 2 cards be part of? What if
only 3 characteristics need to match (or be different)?

* Is it possible for all the cards to be used? What is the
probability of this happening?

* Can a subset of the deck be organized in a way to make
sets with no extra cards left over?

Our group then began working on "

magic square"
problems. We determined that if cards are on the four corners of a magic
square, the entire square is determined. We then saw that this was also the
case with 3 corners (and that it would be impossible to create the entire magic
square if the 3 starting cards made a set).

We then shared our work with other tables and talked about.
Some comments of note:

*Students who do well anticipate teacher questions and
understand why they're being asked.

Ways SET can be used:

*the big picture of "Here's our universe. What is true
in this universe?" Parallels other axiomatic systems.

*sorted attributes, categorizing

*union/intersection

Interesting to maybe think about how the cards are exactly
the same mathematically as just having the 4-tuple (0,2,1,1) with four
dimensions (four different attributes) and values that can be 0, 1 or 2 (three
different options for each attribute).

Kim then shared (and asked us to reflect on how this could
be done with students in a more meaningful way than just telling them) a way to
determine which card is missing after playing a full game and ending up with a
number of remaining cards that is not a multiple of three.

**Break**

Shared some summer opportunities:

Center For Innovative Teaching: Hands on Geometry

**Assessment**

How do we assess content learning? (I would add habits
learning too)

Rigor?

How do we evaluate assessments?

Am I testing what I think I'm testing?

How can we use assessment to understand what sense students
are making of instruction?

What are we looking for and how do we measure it?

Targeted, selected observation...

Engaging students in self-assessment

Some assessment ideas:

* Give assessments with lots of questions and then at the
end tell students that their top scores on 5 (or whatever) problems will be the
only ones graded.

* Ask students to solve 2 of 4 and give different point
values for more complicated problems

* Have small skills, concepts, and pushing quizzes that
students take weekly (with a choice of which quiz they take) and can retest
until they show proficiency

Big question: assessing what?

*students making good choices

*have you learned this skill

*access

Next time, talk about different kinds of assessment.
Thinking about bringing assessment questions around a particular topic/skill/concept
(probably one middle school topic, maybe proportions, and one high school
topic, maybe systems of equations).

Brainstorm ideas on how to make assessment a better tool for
learning? What do you do after assessment?