Texting while Driving


How far does your car travel while you drive and one-handedly text “LOL” to your friend?

question from Frank Noschese’s 180 blog

Students came in to the cartoon and question about texting and driving. Their tables had a hand-out that also contained problem expectations.

“You are sitting with your group. Please ask me any questions that come up.” With these statements, the class was up and running. I’ve been experimenting a bit with the amount of instruction given before students begin work and it seems as if only a few truly listen to these instructions while others space out. On the opposite end, a few students seemed helpless without the instruction even though they had enough information to get going. Requiring specific questions that built an initial level of thought input seemed to make the groups process information and talk with each other before asking questions. I was happy to see a few groups quickly gathering data and moving forward. I limited one group to a limited number of questions because they simply were not reading.

My students are not drivers and as a few whipped out texting times less than a second, I asked if they were holding on to a “steering wheel”. Oops.

A few groups gathered around a spreadsheet but most gravitated towards whiteboards and put the problem into context. Some even set possible speeds according to mountain, town and freeway driving.

I’m trying to develop a model of constant speed with the students and today’s start was an exploration into relationships between position, time and speed. We will continue with walking graphs next. I really liked the targeted question that quickly engaged students and provided an easy access point to get started.


2 thoughts on “Texting while Driving

  1. Nice context. Thanks. Another theft by me.
    “And what do you do with those students who don’t participate?” Gosh I am tired of the question.
    I like the importance of this question.
    Interestingly, I used to have students who could text to each other with the phone in their pocket – no peeking. You can’t do that with the smartyphone and the touch-screen keyboard.

    • So far I’ve been fortunate that if I manage to establish an active learning day, the students jump on board. The whiteboards seem to help a lot as well – they gather around to process together. I’m with you on the texting – I didn’t think of all the complications with smart phones as students began experimenting with unlocking times and phone models. A future inquiry perhaps…

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