Friday, December 12, 2014

Math: Week 15

SOLs Covered:  SOL 7.15 Algebraic Inequalities
Math Packet:  #11 Solving & Graphing Inequalities
Upcoming Assessments:  CCPS Quiz #3 (Mon. 12/15); Algebra Test (Fri. 12/19)

SOLs Covered:  SOL 8.3 Proportional Reasoning
Math Packet:  #12 Solving Practical Problems Using Proportional Reasoning
Upcoming Assessments:  CCPS Quiz #3 (Mon. 12/15)

This week seems to have flown by fast!  The MSM2 classes started working on solving and graphing algebraic inequalities.  While the steps are essentially the same as those taken to solve equations, there is a slight twist that when multiplying or dividing by a negative, you have to flip the inequality symbol.  That's still throwing off a few students, which lead to some easily fixed errors when the took the quiz today.   Another difficulty that got to a few students with the quiz were questions asking what number(s) could work as part of the solution for an inequality.  For example, if an inequalities solution is < 8, only numbers less than 8 (including fractions) would work, but if x ≥ -7, then -7 as well as any number greater than -7 would work.  Students are so used to problems having one correct answer that these questions catch them off-guard.  There's also the added complication that questions like this could be worded in a variety of ways.

Something that could help them for this issue and many others is simply the process of working the problems on paper.  I haven't quite gotten it to sink in with the kids (in both the MSM2 and 7H classes) yet that just because we now do a lot of work on the computer, doesn't mean they can do the work in their head instead of writing it down and showing all their work.  Please help me by reiterating this message to your children.

The 7H class continued working on solving practical problems using proportional reasoning.  The kids get the basics of solving problems with proportions and percents, but the tricky part is that "practical problems" along with "real world problems" often translates to word problems that require careful analysis to breakdown.  The most successful students use highlighting and listing the given information to help with the breakdown.  Some problems contain extra information, so eliminating that (I recommend crossing out the extra), usually by first identifying exactly what the problem is asking for, helps as well.  Multi-step word problems often have multiple missing components that need to be found before finding the final answer.  Finally, students need to remember to use the necessary formulas.  Formulas needed for this particular topic (i.e. percent proportion, percent of change, simple interest) are not part of the state approved formula sheet, so students need to memorize them.

The 7H students also had to finish up their Khan Academy assignments.  With that being said, I'm going to end things here so I can update their final grades for it as well as some of the kids' assessment corrections and make-up work.  Before I "go," I'd like to ask that if there's anyone willing to donate paper and pencils, it would be greatly appreciated.  My own supply has been used up, so it would be a huge help to us.

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