If Sameera, Bobby, and Jose buy ten Snickers bars and then chase their dogs around the neighborhood for seven minutes, how many donuts will the monkey need to bring to the zoo in order to celebrate Javi's birthday? Raise your hand if this seems totally normal for a math class... Right. Well... this "word problem" … Continue reading Math = Gibberish: The UPSC Approach to Teaching Word Problems

# algebra

# Factoring Part 0: Factoring Prep!

I decided it was time to steal from another post (Part 2: Factor by Grouping) because really, I should have started with Factoring Prep before delving into Greatest Common Factor. There's a reason and a process for everything I do in the classroom. Being that factoring is probably the MOST COMPLEX topic we'll broach all … Continue reading Factoring Part 0: Factoring Prep!

# Multiplying Polynomials *with boxes*

If you can't tell... I LOVE PROVIDING STRUCTURE (!!!) in math class. I use boxes and circles to combine like terms, squiggly lines to indicate equal signs, and tables to work through transformations of functions. While these structures are not necessary for the honors or highest level students to achieve success in math, I've found … Continue reading Multiplying Polynomials *with boxes*

# Graphing Functions: A Table Approach

Algebra 1: Graphing's a cinch! (For us... maybe not so much for our students) We teach linear and quadratic parent functions... and often fail at inverse variation We begin to help them understand the usefulness of finding the vertex and substituting values for x. We show the connection between evaluating and the graphing calculator table … Continue reading Graphing Functions: A Table Approach

# Factoring Part 3: Trinomials

Good morning! Isn't summer vacation the best?! Clearly my writing goals didn't happen so much this past school year, so I'm hoping to use some of my free time this summer to blog and add to my Teachers Pay Teachers account. Factoring... Do you find that Algebra 1 kids stare at you with blank looks, … Continue reading Factoring Part 3: Trinomials

# Factoring Part 1: GCF

I won't lie... Quarter 3 completely got away from me. My last post was almost 4 months ago and Quarter 4 starts tomorrow! But better late than never, right? Tomorrow I will begin factoring out the Greatest Common Factor (GCF) with my ESOL Algebra Part 1 kids. (You're probably thinking... what?! Is she crazy?!) So … Continue reading Factoring Part 1: GCF

# Calculating Slope From 2 Points *with tables*

Finding the slope seems to trip students up every year, even though we work step-by-step through the different variations. Students seem to master each individual piece (*EXCEPT maybe the slope formula... hence, this blog post! We'll get there...). We always have great conversations about types of slopes, making connections between all the different representations: special … Continue reading Calculating Slope From 2 Points *with tables*

# Literal Equations! *river style*

How many of you gagged a little bit when you saw "Literal Equations" in the title? Oops, there you go again. I know, it's not your fault. Anyone who has taught Algebra 1 has been slightly traumatized by the process. Not by the process of solving them yourself, but by the process of helping students … Continue reading Literal Equations! *river style*

# Simplifying Radicals *with factor ladders*

Are the rest of you feeling the end of the semester like I am? It's so close! All this grading has given me a chance to think about my next topic... and I could write about a million different things... But I think I want to continue with simplifying radicals, the natural segue from my … Continue reading Simplifying Radicals *with factor ladders*

# Prime Factors *with cakes and ladders*

Prime factorization with factor trees (actually, using factor trees in general), in my opinion and experience, is the WORST! Organized kids can usually keep track of what they need to, but many struggling students lose "branches" of their trees and forget that they still need to factor composite numbers like 6. If a kid learned … Continue reading Prime Factors *with cakes and ladders*