Friday, September 23, 2011

Weekly Class Summary: Sept. 19-23

SOLs Covered: SOL 6.5 & 7.1d Powers, Exponents, & Square Roots
Math Dictionary Sections: (2) Powers & Exponents
Upcoming Assessments: Order of Operations Quiz (Tues. 10/4); WWU Quiz 2 (Fri. 10/7)

The  week was spent covering Powers and Exponents, which is an entirely new concept for most 6th graders. My non-teachery explanation for exponents is to tell students that exponents "shrink" multiplication problems the same way multiplication "shrinks" addition, as they learned back in elementary school. Typically middle schoolers still struggle slightly with the differences in /exponents and multiplying, so to help clear up the confusion, we used our "mice voices" to emphasis the difference between the base and exponent in an auditory manner, which should also serve as a reminder that the base and exponent do not have the same "job" as factors in a multiplication problem.

Students explored how the Perfect Squares got their name through use of multiplication charts, which they created themselves and added to their Math Dictionaries. The perfect squares run on the diagonal from top-left to bottom-right and by highlighting the square numbers a certain way, students can see the geometric square that is formed. This was linked with our discussion on Square Roots and how finding the square root of a number is basically the opposite of squaring it, in the same way that subtracting is the reverse of adding and dividing is the reverse of multiplying.

Students were also given their login information for DimensionU, a game system for which the county has purchased school subscriptions. The game can be downloaded for home-play, allowing students a fun way to practice and study their math skills outside of class. Since I will be giving them several other accounts as well, we created a new section in the back of the Math Dictionary for their "Web Resources." They copied down the addresses of this blog, my Class Portaportal, my School Portaportal, and EdLine.  They glued down a picture of the default control settings for the DimensionU game before writing down their username (CH and their student ID number, no space) and password.  We will continue to add to this throughout the year in order to provide students with many resources to make their home studying/reviewing fun!

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