Thursday, September 07, 2006

Next Lesson: 2 x 2 systems practice

The students liked learning the linear combination method. I like to play up things like that for them - "Now that you're in Algebra 2, you're ready to learn this new technique..." Of course, I screwed up my first example, which was supposed to have a simple integer solution - I copied the wrong number down in the problem and we ended with thirteenths or something, and then I decided to push ahead anyways (cause everyone loves fraction practice!).. So after thoroughly losing them, I started over with the other examples, and they caught on pretty quickly.

Next class:
- Students will practice solving linear equations with rational coefficients. I am using the "partner problems" idea that I saw on ILoveMath.org - you put the problems in two columns, where the matching problems are different but have the same answer. This way, students work on their own problem, but can easily check if they are getting it right by comparing their results to their partner.

- Then, I will do a brief direct instruction piece where we work through solving a 2 x 2 system word problem together following the key steps (identify the variables, write the equations, solve, answer in a sentence) on the overhead.

- Finally, students will practice with more word problems in the Problem Relay format. Each group selects a runner. I sit at the front with a stack of problems for each group. The runners get the first problem and the teams work. They send the runner up when they are finished to have the problems checked. If they are right, they move on to the next problem. If they are wrong, they get a penalty (either points or time lost) - and I use my own discretion to determine what kind of help to give them. At the end, the team with the most correctly solved problems will earn some mythical extra homework points.

Update:
The students loved the relay game. Almost everyone was working full-tilt for 30 minutes straight. One of my students has Asperger's and he was chosen to be a problem runner for his team. He took it a little too seriously - the first time his team finished a problem, he launched himself at me full speed, and I literally had to fend him off so that he didn't crash into me. I coached him a little on how to properly bring the problem up; the next time, he ran the same way, but stopped himself in time, and only knocked a bunch of papers off the table. He's a funny kid - the only student at our school who is on a "no reading" contract, and who gets his books taken away (like others lose their cell phones) because he won't ever stop reading, even in class. Anyway, we'll have to do this activity again in a few weeks.

1 comment:

Mrs. Temple said...

I'm glad that you are finding good ideas at ilovemath! My Algebra Lab kids (remediation for their regular Algebra 1 class) love the relays too. Last year I had one child that you literally had to clear a pathway or he would run right over you! One thing that might help you with the relays is to get a posterboard and glue library card pockets onto the posterboard and then laminate. I have two boards like this and have the pockets numbered 1-25 with the cards (of different colors for the different groups) in the pockets so that I am not fumbling around for the next question.

Our Lab classes are all structured with these types of activities, which we all created and adapted, because there isn't an "official" curriculum and we didn't want it to be a worksheet class.

I would love to see your partner problems worksheet and your relay, I hope you post them soon :)

Sincerely,
Druin