Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Next Lesson: Absolute Value Inequalities

The last lesson seemed to go fine. Half of the class time was devoted to doing our computerized math grade level diagnostic testing, so I didn't really get a chance to see if they mastered the objective. I'll have to see how their homework comes in.

In tomorrow's lesson, we will begin with an error-checking Do Now. Students are given a series of problems (in this case, mainly focused on converting between number lines, interval notation, and inequality notation) that are already worked out, and must determine whether or not they are correct. If the problems are incorrect, students must identify, explain, and correct the error. I'm trying to do these kinds of activities more frequently, to build students abilities to reflect on mathematical solutions and identify common sources of error.

After this, we will extend the 5-step model used for solving absolute value equations to inequalities. Everything is basically the same - the hardest parts for students tends to be drawing a number line that represents the inequality, and then converting that number line into a compound inequality. I'm predicting that the work done in the Do Now will be sufficient scaffolding for this to be less of a challenge (I've definitely learned from mistakes made last year!).

The class will then have about 20 - 25 minutes to practice these problems individually or in pairs. I really hope I don't cut in to this time too much. For my students, this type of practice time in class, immediately following direct instruction, seems to be indispensable. But it is all to easy to go on and on during direct instruction, trying to get every last one of the students to understand what you're saying. This is never going to happen, obviously, but there is something that seems to compel me when I'm in front of the class to keep going, answer every single question, and make sure every student is ready to work. I've been working with a timer this year for the first time, and that seems to help. I do tend to say things to the timer when it gives me a warning beep ("alright, alright, I'm hurrying!") and the students look at me funny.

Anyway, handouts to be posted on


Darren said...

I'm enjoying reading this, as I'm teaching Algebra 2 for the first time in 2 years.

I've forgotten how much I love it.

I've also never realized before that even though these are Algebra 2 students, they only really have an Algebra 1 knowledge level--and that ended a year and a half ago! Keeping that in mind helps me not get frustrated when they ask the most basic of questions.

Dan Greene said...

Thanks Darren, I hope it's of some use to you. I really like teaching Algebra 2 also - Algebra 1 can get a little mind numbing if you do it too much. Plus, you can start digging a little deeper into concepts. And since the students are older and more mature (give or take), you can get more done.

At DCP, we've switched the order of Geometry and Algebra 2 for exactly that reason. We felt that it was a more natural continuation, and that it would help our students, many of whom have a lot of difficulty with math. This is our second year with the new order, and it seems to be doing well.