Archive for the ‘Algebra 1’ Category

Today was the first day back to school after holiday break. Tomorrow, my Algebra 1 class has their end of year exam to determine whether or not they are proficient enough to move on to Intermediate Algebra.

Why does our school have such a test? As math teachers, we’ve found that different teachers grade different ways, and as a result, some students aren’t as proficient as they should be as they enter the next level of mathematics.  To overcome this, the math department created a test, over a decade ago, in which all Algebra students need to pass in order to advance to higher math courses. By doing so, the math department can be sure that students in upper level math courses are proficient in their algebraic fundamentals. On the downside, students hate it because if they don’t pass, then it’s another year of Algebra for them, no matter what their grade is in Algebra. Counselors and the Vice Principal in charge of scheduling hate it because it puts a huge number of students back into Algebra, instead of having them go on to their pre-scheduled class.

Why was the test scheduled on the second day after returning back from holiday break? I have no clue, but I think it has something to do with scheduling.

After meeting with my Algebra class today, one thing is certain; a majority of my class either didn’t study, or they studied a minimal amount; which is a bit disappointing, since I spent so much time creating a YouTube playlist that includes videos for each of the skills on the test.

For the last couple semesters I have incorporated a standards based grade book. For my Algebra class, I have aligned the grade book with the skills that are seen on this end-of-year test. One thing that I am going to try, that I have never attempted, is to use the degree of error to determine how accurate my grade book is compared to this test. I intend to only use the assessments portion of my grade book. I think it will be interesting to see individual student’s degree of error and also the class results.

Stay tuned for the results…

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After reading the Official Google Blog today and noticing this link, I’ve decided that this would be an awesome way to really have students practice for the end of year “Exit” exam, which they need to pass in order to move on to the next level of Algebra. By combining YouTube and Google+, I would really be able to provide additional assistance to students that are struggling with concepts.

If you ask a graduating senior, and most adults, what topology is, you will either get a crazy answer that it has something to do with maps or they may look at you with a blank stare in their eyes. Not many people outside the mathematical realm realize tht topology “is a major area of mathematics concerned with properties that are preserved under continuous deformations of objects, such as deformations that involve stretching, but no tearing or gluing. It emerged through the development of concepts from geometry and set theory, such as space, dimension, and transformation” (Wikipedia).

While reading The Mobius Strip by Clifford Pickover, I decided that this video would be the first of a series of videos that I would show relating to topology. In the coming weeks I will be showing videos that relate to perfect squares, knots, and possibly some other topics that I discover while reading Pickover’s book.

Rather than come up with a worksheet, I’ve decided to present the students with a series of scenarios for them to try on their own.

  • If you cut along the middle of a Möbius strip, what do you end up with? Does Mr. Ug ever reunite with his dog?
  • What happens if you cut along a Möbius strip a third of the way in from the edge?
  • Create a Möbius Strip sandwich by taking two strips of paper one on top of the other, like two pieces of bread in a sandwich. Together give the strips both a half twist and tape them as if you were constructing a sing Möbius strip. What do you get?

Usually, I like to keep my questions short, because I find a lot of students are really intrigued by Moebius strips and they continue to discover on their own.

On a side note, I think it would be fun to crochet. Maybe if I ever learn how, I can make something like this.