Wednesday, March 4, 2015

IMP Alice Day 3 - Logic POW and Mystery Bags revisited

Today my Algebra IB students took a short quiz on systems of equations. The grades were not all that great but Ms. Whitt (my incredible coteacher) and I did our best to talk to each of the students about what they missed. The students will be given the opportunity to retake the quiz within the next week.
Ms. Whitt tutoring a student one-on-one on solving systems of equations.

 After the students turned in the quiz they were instructed to start working on the Logic POW. This is a very different POW than any that we have done before. It gives the students several pairs of statements and asks them to figure out if there is a logical conclusion that can be made. Some of the pairs do not have logical conclusions. I think this is a great way to introduce them to the type of thinking and reasoning that is required in geometry!

My 5th period Algebra IA class started Mystery Bags this week. Today we did the More Mystery Bags activity. I appreciated the context the first time I went through this last semester. I went back and read the blog I wrote after that day. The first time through most of my students seemed to have a pretty firm grasp of solving basic equations. However, my 5th period class needed more prompting. When the students had a problem like 5M +3 = 2M + 15 the context gives me such an easy way to explain why you would first want to take 2 Ms (or mystery bags) from each side of the equation (balance). In the mystery bag activity the constants are referred to as the weights that are on the balances. Therefore it once again makes logical sense that the next step is to take 3 ounces of weight from each side. We want to get mystery bags only on one side and weights only on the other side. Almost every student then understands to divide the amount of weight by the number of bags. (They are told that each mystery bag has the same amount of weight in it.)

Tomorrow they will be thrown some problems with some negative numbers. I explained to them today that the concept of getting all the mystery bags (variables) on one side and all the constants (weights) on the other will still work.