Tuesday, April 21, 2015

IMP Fireworks - Distributing the Area II and Square It!

Michael Reitemeyer shared with me that he uses the video above as an introduction to his class. Today, as my students were working on the Distributing the Area II activity, I was reminded of the video. The very first problem is one where the students need to guess and check in order to get the correct answer. There are several students who just stared at the problem. I gave them a hint and then gave them a few more minutes. Afterwards I had a student share HOW she got her answer. I asked her if the first numbers she tried worked and she said no. She tried some numbers and then made some adjustments until she got the result she needed. I reminded the class of the video. I told them that Jada got to an answer faster than most of the rest of them because she was willing to TRY some numbers. After she tried some numbers and saw that they didn't work she was able to make a revision and find the solution.

One of the questions in this activity actually has the students to factor a trinomial but they don't realize that is what they are doing. I stressed to the students that they are being asked to try both the vertical method and the area model to multiply polynomials but afterwards they can choose the method they like best.

Square It!  introduces the standard form of a quadratic equation and leads the students to convert quadratic equations from vertex to standard form. Number 1 has the students practice squaring a binomial. Then they are given problems in vertex form and told to put them in standard form. It amazed me that some of the students in one of my classes didn't make the connection between number 1 and number 2. I even told them to square the binomial first just like we did in number 1. (I try to help them see the connection between the order of operations and the idea of squaring before you distribute.) I kind of  "got onto" them about not trying to make connections from number 1 to number 2. They just kind of shut down on me and started whining. I noticed that there are several more places in the next few activities where the students will practice this skill again and I am glad. My other algebra class did fine with the activity - no whining or complaining. I wonder if my experience with the first class helped me to put more emphasis on the connection between numbers 1 and 2?

**While planning for the next day I realized that the students will be given a couple more chances in the next few activities to work on changing from vertex to standard form.

Squares and Expansions is an activity where the students are first introduced to the concept of completing the square. Then they practice converting from vertex to standard form.