Tuesday, March 10, 2015

IMP Overland Trail - solving equations using mystery bags - 5th period

I really enjoyed using Mystery Bags and Scrambled Equations. However, when I gave my students some "naked math" one-step equations they have really struggled. I have one class that is taking all year to work through the 1st half of algebra. They were identified to possibly have a struggle in algebra. I have several incredibly bright students in there. I have often thought - why was this student put in this class...   I had an eye-opening experience today. There were a few of my students who excel when we work in our IMP books who really struggled with today's work. I mean...the ones who are always "piping up" to answer the questions and seem to just "get" the big picture. One student even started the age-old, "When am I ever going to use this? This is stupid!" It took hearing him say that for me to realize that I have not heard that near as often since we started using our IMP Meaningful Math Algebra I books.

Ok...I am rambling a bit in this post so I am going to resort to using bullet points to make sure I get the main ideas that I am trying to convey:

  • If I am teaching students who are struggling math students I am going to have to supplement material to help them learn to solve 1 and 2 step equations ...for sure. When integers were thrown in (after mystery bags) it has totally blown their minds. I think I am going to go "old-school" tomorrow and just teach the process in steps.
  • After today I have a greater appreciation for how the context and story lines in the books give the algebra more meaning. I think it helps all students but I think it makes an even bigger difference in struggling students who don't usually do well in math.