Posted by: Magistra | April 7, 2008

Factors

We’re quadraticing in Algebra and it’s not nearly as bad as I thought it would be. Maybe I just had such low expectations (honestly, I thought it was going to be a return to the black hole of 2nd quarter) that anything seems like success. I’m not saying we have a deep conceptual understanding or are independently fluent with solving quadratics, but we’re graphing and we’re factoring. We’ve gone from using the physical manipulative (algebra tiles) to an abstract note-organizer (introduced to me as a “diamond” although it looks more like an “x”). The students who are moving with me are doing okay. And that group includes a couple occasional participants, so I’m feeling good. Next step: completing the square.

And, if there’s an Algebra teacher out there, you have to play catch. They get the two solutions, they get the shape of the curve, they get that there are different curves, and they get why we pay attention to the x-axis. And I didn’t even do the lesson that well. “Here, take this koosh ball. Play catch. Come up with three different curves.” (It was almost that bad.) I’m tempted to do it again when we talk more about the vertex and the discriminant. I also hear “walking the line” gets the job done for the vertex.

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