Saturday, September 06, 2008

Algebra 2: Power Equations

I had a great Friday. My Algebra 2 classes went well, though the Keynote took about 10 minutes longer than I wanted. But, the slide where I showed them how you can use the Pythagorean Theorem to locate root 2 on the number line was quite successful (I think). They agreed that we could construct the original square out of a 1' x 1' piece of wood. Then, after we use the compass to map out the length of the diagonal, I showed that we could cut a piece of wood that is exactly root 2 feet long. I'm really trying to drive home the idea that irrational roots are still real amounts, and this slide made their brains hum.

And my single Algebra 1 class is starting to go really well. Over a week, and not a single referral. And, only once did I ask a student to step out of the class to calm down. I've got a TA who helps out by checking and logging homework, and then assisting students during practice time. I taught her a couple years back in Algebra 2 honors, and she is now one of a handful of seniors taking Calculus at a local junior college. Plus, I have another former student senior who has decided to use her free period to come every class and sit with Kate, and Kate is very happy with this arrangement. We learned the first part of the order of operations (aside from parentheses and exponents), and though they all surprisingly had heard of PEMDAS and knew that multiplication and division come before addition and subtraction, only about half knew the "left to right" part of it. So, when we got to that example, a big debate erupted, along with "you wanna bet"s and so forth, but it was all done in a positive way. And when the answer was revealed, the kids who were fighting for the wrong side were gracious about it (though I did make it extra clear that they could have been right too, and mathematicians just had to pick one way to do it). They were my last period of the day, and as a gift to them, when I got home I made a positive phone call home to every kid in the class. It took about an hour or so, but I'm hoping that it will turn out to be a good investment in furthering our class culture. The parents were very grateful to hear from me - even the ones who almost had a heart attack when the math teacher was already calling home. I had to do some quick assurances that "todo esta bien, no hay problema!"

On Monday, we will be solving power equations in Algebra 2. Nothing too fancy, but we will be doing Showdown for the first time - one of my favorite collaborative activities. Here are the files:

Lesson 5 (solving power equations)
Lesson 5 Keynote
Keynote Quicktime

1 comment:

Mesmerized said...

I am really interested in what you're doing with your kids. I don't have much experience teaching and mine are a bit younger (middle school) but I seem to gather that most of your students are non-native speakers of English.
I'll keep track of your blog :)