Friday, October 01, 2010

Weekly Class Summary: Sept. 27-Oct. 1

SOLs Covered: SOL 6.22 (New 6.5 & 7.1d) Powers & Exponents; SOL 7.2 (New 6.8) Order of Operations
Math Dictionary Sections: (4) Exponents & (5) Order of Operations
Upcoming Assessments: Order of Operations Quiz (Wed. 10/6/10); WWU Quiz 1 (Fri. 10/8/10)

Most of the week was spent covering Powers and Exponents, which tied in with our previous unit on Patterns and Sequences.  The two topics are normally linked on the SOL test every year with questions revolving around Powers of Ten, Perfect Squares, and/or sequences that revolve around Powers of other whole numbers.  These questions can show up in numerical form (with numbers) or geometric form (with shapes/pictures).  Students explored how the Perfect Squares got their name by illustrating them on grid paper, for example showing how a 3-by-3 square (32) equals an area of nine little squares on the grid paper.  This activity was linked with our discussion on Square Roots and how finding the square root of a number is the opposite of squaring it, in the same way that subtracting is the reverse of adding and dividing is the reverse of multiplying.

Typically middle schoolers struggle with the differences in powers/exponents and multiplying, so to help clear up the confusion, we used "thought bubbles" (the base number is thinking about how many times it must multiply by itself) and our "mice voices" (to distinguish the difference between the base and exponent in an auditory manner) to help remind us that the exponent's job is different than multiplication.

Due to the fundraiser assembly and a need to spend a little more time on this unit, the quiz for Patterns/Sequences and Powers/Exponents was pushed to Friday.  This has also pushed back our work on Order of Operations (aka PEMDAS), which we were only briefly able to start.  This unit, which also merges with exponents, can be a very complicated topic, so Thursday night's homework was modified; instead of solving the problems, students were just asked to set each problem up by "separating" the addition and subtraction with vertical lines on either side of all plus/minus symbols.  This will help them when we further delve into the unit next week by visually blocking off these operations to be saved for last.

PEMDAS Matching from Dositey
Exponent Asteroids from MathDork

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