Sunday, November 25, 2012

Two-Step Equations

After creating our one-step equation pages in our ISN we moved on to two-step equations.  I didn't want to create another fold-able for this because I knew I was going to need one for multi-step equations with variables on both sides of the equal sign and I didn't want them to lose interest in fold-ables.

Instead we did this.
These are pages 5-6

I gave them two different types of problems, one with a coefficient (either fractional or whole number, if it's a fraction we don't multiply by the reciprocal we just simply divide by the fraction, keeps the number of different types/steps to a minimum) and one problem where the variable is the numerator of a fraction.

The problems went at the top of the page and each student was given a pink and green piece of paper as well as a pink and green highlighter.  We wrote step 1 in the pink box and step 2 in the green box.  We worked out the two sample problems showing only step 1 in the pink box and step 2 in the green box.

At the bottom we showed how to check our work.  On the right hand side I gave them four problems.  They had to highlight the first step in pink and the second step in green.  After they found the answer they were expected to show their answer checked next to each problem.

These pages were effective for my students but I think next year I will change it up.  I was having a hard time trying to come up with something to do for two-step equations that wasn't a fold-able.  I will say I did notice students using the pink and green highlighters on their homework and our other classroom practice.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Math Puzzle

Every student needs practice with the content that you teach, especially in math.  However, I think sitting there doing a typical worksheet is boring, and the students think so too.  Whenever a worksheet is passed out I can hear the sighs of disappointment in the room.

But what can you do when all they need is practice...

I created this puzzle for my students to practice solving equations with variables on one side of the equal sign.

My classes are small but I always make at least 10.

I copied them onto colored paper (it makes it easier to know which puzzle they below to when a piece gets lost), laminated them, cut them up and clipped them.

A students start to the puzzle
 Students worked the problems out on a separate sheet of paper and when they find the answer, the piece bumps up next to the equation. 

Many times the students will initiate a competition to see who can finish the puzzle correctly the fastest.  The first time seeing these they can be over whelming because students don't always know where to start.

My suggestion to all of them is pick one piece and work one problem out on that piece, it will lead you to a piece that has new equations to solve for and eventually you will create the puzzle.  If you just keep randomly picking up a piece to solve a puzzle you will end up with lots of buddies but no puzzle. (this is hard for my students to then figure out what to do)

Sunday, November 11, 2012

One-Step Equations

Last week we covered solving one-step equations in my Algebra class.  Here are the pages we created in our Interactive Student Notebook (ISN).

 These are pages 3-4 in our notebooks.  I didn't start the ISN at the beginning of the year so there would have been many more pages before this one.

On the left side is the fold-able I made on the computer and printed off for the students. (template below)

The beginning of the period looked a lot like art class with the kids coloring and cutting it out, but they had an excellent time.

Next, we filled out the fold-able with each type of one-step equation.  It is the kind of problem, not the operation you perform to solve for x.

The top of the flap was completed with the step needed to solve that particular problem, and the base was a worked out sample problem of each kind.

On the right side of the notebook were our notes and practice problems.  At the top, we discussed the vocabulary words: Constant and Coefficient.  A definition and example were given for each word.  You will notice in the problems the students were asked to highlight where/in which problems they saw those vocabulary words.

After each question, we talked about how to substitute each found value back into the equation to determine if they performed the correct operation.

At the very bottom of the right side, I asked students to summarize in 1 sentence how to solve one step equations and what they came up on their own blew my mind..."Perform the opposite operation to solve for x"  **Proud teacher moment**

I'm not sure exactly why this post is not letting people download the foldable but below is a link to my Google file for the foldable.

One-Step Equations Foldable

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Interactive Student Notebooks

I first want to say that I am in no way an expert in Interactive Student Notebooks.  My group of Algebra students this year are having a hard time with math, in fact they voiced their hatred of math many times at the beginning of the school year.  After getting to the root of their hatred, I found that it's mainly because all they ever did with their previous teacher was worksheets.

I searched for many weeks to find something that would teach these students how to take notes, keep themselves organized, and most of all have fun while doing it.  Enter in Interactive Student Notebooks!

  • Composition Notebooks (from what I've read they are the most durable, and it's also hard to rip out pages.  I found these for 93 cents at Target)

This is mine

  • I had my students cover their notebooks in colored paper, and cover it with "Numbers Important to Me".  I have seen some notebooks where they are covered in pictures from magazine.  I like keeping it math related! When they were finished I covered the front and back in clear shipping tape, it helps keep them clean and extra durable.

  •  The first page of the ISN was a grading rubric.  I'm terrible at writing rubrics so I found one online.  You can get a copy of it here.

  • The next two pages became our table of contents.  This will include the topic we covered, what pages it's on in the notebook, and what date we created them on.  

  • The pages after your table of contents are used for notes.  Generally one side of the page (left side) is for the students.  They create fold ables or any sort of discovery activity.  The other side (right side) is for the teachers notes on the topic.  Each page should have a title (the topic) along with page numbers and dates.  
**I will try to post as many of the pages as I can that we have created**

When my students came in and saw the table with the notebooks piled up, the markers, colored paper, glue, scissors, and tape their faces lit up.  They were so excited for class to start and they had no idea what we were even going to do with it all.  To them it simply meant they weren't doing worksheets, and they were happy about that!
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