Monday, March 9, 2015

IMP Alice Day 4 - A Wonderland Lost and Scrambling Equations (Overland Trail)

We started class today with another warmup on solving systems of equations. My students will have their 3rd and final opportunity to retake the quiz in order to improve their grade for this 9 weeks.

Once we went over the warmup I assigned A Wonderland Lost. We read it together and discussed it some first. I love the question the teacher's guide advises you to ask about how long it will take the rain forest to be completely gone.  Several students think it is 10 years. I did an example at the board using a beginning amount of 100 and worked through decreasing by 10 percent per year. I led them to the "shortcut" of taking 90% of the previous (or beginning) amount each time. I am learning to be more comfortable writing exponential equations within the contexts we've used so far. I don't know if my students are going to retain these lessons but I'm quite sure I will. This was a time when the teacher's guide gives you the rule.  I had to stop and think about it to be able to explain it. AND relating back to the walk thru we did for the Alice problem certainly made it easier for me to understand and explain! After today's lesson I took a few minutes to give notes on the differences between exponential, quadratic, and linear functions. I also made sure they heard me use the vocabulary terms of exponential growth and decay.

My 5th period finished the Scrambling Equations activity from Overland Trail. I invested a little more time in this activity this time through and I think it went better.  I found many mistakes in the students' work and tried to clarify some misconceptions. I had my students write their "complicated equations" on notecards. I also provided a problem I made up and wrote on the board for students to use if they didn't feel certain of their problem. After they worked each other's problems I asked them to write down a brief description of the process they used to solve the equation. They used phrases like "canceling out" and "did the opposite." We also emphasized that looking on the side with the variable tells you what to do. After the activity I passed out a worksheet for them to practice 1-step equations. We didn't have much time to work on them today. We will build up in difficulty and have a quiz by the end of the week.