Thursday, August 28, 2008

Algebra effort

I am seeing more and more that there is a growing seperation of the number of students that are working hard and not working hard. It seems that there are students who are prefectly okay with not understanding what they are doing and spend a lot of time at night writing stuff down on paper to have the illusion that they understand. What can I do for a student that does not want to put an effort into learning math? Most of these students are in Algebra 1 where they are building a foundation for all their future math classes. I guess this is start of the year frustration and I am hoping that I can change some habits that they have devoloped in the past. Have these tricks worked in the past to get these students by?

Monday, August 25, 2008

Why math?

I decided to start the year with a new project for all of my math classes. This project is an attempt to answer the eternal question with math, "When am I going to use this?" I asked all the students to pick a profession that they are interested in pursuing. Then we developed an introductory paragraph for every student to email out to a person that works in that profession. Here is the paragraph and questions that my classes and fellow teachers came up with:

Hello, my name is your full name here, from Arapahoe High School in Centennial, Colorado. I am currently taking Algebra 2, and we are trying to discover some real world applications to mathematics. I am hoping that you can share some of your experiences to enlighten my fellow students and me on why math is important. I would appreciate it if you would take a few minutes to answer the following questions.
1. How do you use math in your profession? Outside of your profession?
2. Are there any experiences – academic or otherwise - that particularly helped you learn and apply math in your profession?
3. What specific advice would you give to someone thinking about entering your profession if they want to help prepare themselves in the best possible way?
4. Knowing what you know now, what would you have done differently as a learner?
5. Please add any additional comments or questions that you feel you would like to share.
Thank you for your time,
Your name here

I am hoping the students will come up with a variety of ways to make some contacts and get answers to these questions from professionals who are currectly working in the field. I am not sure how this will turn out but we will see. Once I have compiled enough responses, I am going to create a wiki page to share everything.