Friday, November 22, 2013

Weekly Class Summary: Nov. 18-22

SOLs Covered:  SOL 7.14 & 8.15 Algebraic Concepts
Math Dictionary Sections:  19 Algebraic Concepts
Upcoming Assessments:  Review Quiz Part 1 (Wed. 12/4); Inequalities Quiz Part 2 (Fri. 12/6)

Students started the week with a quiz  reviewing the basics of algebra as they learned in 6th grade with a few 7th grade twists (such as the appearance of integers in their equations), finishing up as needed on Tuesday.  From that point we jumped into the major 7th grade components of algebra, solving two-step and multi-step equations.  We started this portion of our work off by practicing the "art" of combining like terms, which does become rather colorful as I have the students color code the like terms [those having the same variable(s), raised to the same power(s)] using different highlighters or colored pencils.  This allows them to easily see which matches go together and helps alleviate some of the confusion this concept can bring.  We also practiced a bit more with the distributive property as it applies to multi-step equations.

Before jumping into the steps for solving equations, we first worked on solving equations through modeling the problems.  Instead of using the typical algebra tiles most teachers use, I came up with an activity last year using Teddy Grahams and mini-marshmallows as substitutes.  The kids seem to grasp the concept of modeling equations much easier when using the sweets in place of the tiles, plus it's much tastier!  As previously posted and emailed, I reached out asking parents and guardians if they wouldn't mind helping out by donating the needed supplies.  I was so overwhelmed (in a very good way!) by the generosity and have to thank everyone profusely for their help!  Thank you to the following students (and their parents/guardians who sent the items!):  Aaron, Shamar, Colin, Tori, Jasmine, Tessa, Citlali, Jacob B., April, Mitchell, Colton G., Cordell, Ben, Erica, Jocelyn, Dylan N., Sean S., Kelli, Morgan, and Thomas.  There were a few items left by students in the classroom with no name, so if I've missed anyone in my list, please let me know so I can properly thank you!  I'll be writing Lambie Points to give to each of the students who brought in items as part of my thanks.  A special thanks to Citlali and Jessica (and their fabulous British accents) for staying after on Wednesday to help me get everything set up for the activity!

We then moved onto the more technical (and less yummy) steps for solving equations.  Instead of students turning in this week's homework, I had them add several of the problems as examples to their Math Dictionaries.  We continued with our color coding for this and made a "quick notes" cards (as shown in the "Solving Multi-step Equations" portion of the notes) for students to use as a guide and reminder for the steps.  I've showed them my own little tip of writing 1234=↓☐✓ to go along with it, which reminds them to follow the steps  for solving equations.  We'll review a bit on Monday before students take their quiz for this section.

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