Friday, October 11, 2013

Weekly Class Summary: Oct. 7-11

SOLs Covered:  SOL 7.13 Substitution; SOL 7.1 Negative Exponents & Scientific Notation
Math Dictionary Sections:  7 Order of Operations; 8 Scientific Notation
Upcoming Assessments:  Comparing/Ordering FDPSciNot & Review Quiz (Fri. 10/18)

In my humble opinion, this has been an awesomely magical week!  We started the week off by reviewing algebriac subsititution as it applies to our previous work from last week with the order of operations.  I've been teaching the students my math magical (forevermore known as "mathical") tricks as I showed them how to make variables "disappear" only to be "turned into" numbers!   (Imagine a mysterious voice as you read that.)  Personally, I've never had so much fun teaching thus far in my career and I'm pretty sure the students got into the goofiness with me, some possibly not even realizing we were still learning at the same time.  The kids and I really hammed it up and had a few good laughs while they did an awesome job applying their own "mathical abilities" to the problems.

Once we wrapped up or quick review of substitution, we jumped right into working with negative exponents as well as scientific notation.   We continued working our mathical abilities here by turning the negative exponents into positives by turning them into fractions (ex. ${ 2 }^{ -3 }=\frac { 1 }{ { 2 }^{ 3 } }=\frac {1}{8}$) and shrinking down really large numbers (i.e. the approx. distance to the sun) and really small numbers (i.e. the size of a grain of sand) by writing them in scientific notation (i.e. $a\times { 10 }^{ x }$).  In their groups, students practiced putting numbers written in scientific notation in order from least to greatest as well as converting them back into standard form.

Today after a quick review, students took a quiz on everything from the past two weeks: order of operations, substitution, negative exponents, and scientific notation along with a few review questions.   Some students will again need to finish their test on Monday, but this is in part because they are starting each quiz or test by making their Smart Charts again, which we've been practicing every week.  Students are asked to keep practicing their charts at home as part of their studying each week in hopes that they'll have it memorized by the end of the year.  By the time they take the SOLs, if they have the Smart Chart memorized, they'll be able to create it (completely from memory) right before they take the test.  They will be able to then use it throughout the test to help give them reminders when they get stuck on questions as well hopefully alleviating some of their test anxieties.  With each new unit, we're coming up with short mnemonics to add to the chart, so they should have something new to practice each week.

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