### Bouncy Balls

Today was a good day. Yesterday wasn't and I'll leave it at that (strictly speaking of school). One of those days where I couldn't find a wall fast enough in order to bang my head against it not once, but multiple times. It's a great thing that I get to end my days with my wife and son. My students are having a blast finding Felipe, our classroom Elf on the Shelf, each day. With a waterfall schedule, my last class of the day gets to hide him for the next day. It's a fun little activity for the kids to burn some energy off until the holidays. We did our seasonal estimate today and I started my Algebra classes with this video:

Yes, this video is cruel. Not necessarily perplexing, but enough to hopefully generate some curiosity? So, which ball will bounce higher? Give me a thumbs up if you think the 2012 Super Ball will bounce higher. Give me a thumbs down if you think the 1976 Super Ball will bounce higher. Give me a thumbs middle if you think they will bounce the same. In all three classes, there wasn't a strong majority, but if I had to estimate I think most students voted that 2012 will bounce higher. And... I don't tell them, show them, or even hint to them. I know, cruel. Enter this picture:

This lesson snuck up on me as I was collecting balls. I forgot to get the following balls: ping pong ball, racquetball, tennis ball, and one of those pink spongy balls. Okay, let's get this out of our system; middle schoolers and the word, "balls." So here we go, "balls, balls, balls, balls, balls, balls, balls, balls."

"Now, look at the balls and quietly, to yourself, make a guess. Guess which ball will be the best. In other words, which will bounce the highest? Now, guess which will be the worst? Don't say anything. Write that in the top corner of the handout you are about to receive. Don't share it with anyone." Students were looking at the screen, scoping out the different sizes, shapes, and textures of each ball. I saw some students writing the golf ball as the worst and the lacrosse ball as the best. Some were putting the Super Balls as the best. "Now, share your guesses with your group. Does anyone want more information about these balls besides just a picture." Trust me, it was very difficult not to work "balls" into the conversation as much as possible. Seriously, it can be fun to see them squirm, grin or laugh at times like these. I refrained from making comments like, "Don't worry guys, you'll get your hands on these balls soon enough." or "We're not playing with the balls people. Simply dropping them and seeing how high they bounce." C'mon people, "Make sure you handle the balls with care." You get the point.