Tuesday, January 5, 2016

A Soft Re-entry back into Algebra 2

That first day back is hard.  We are all used  to two weeks of staying up late and sleeping in late.  First period was especially tough with lots of sleepy kids and very little energy for thinking.  Well aware of what today would be like for the kids, I planned a fun day where we could rely on some previous learning to slowly get back in the groove.  A soft reentry back into our normal routine, as I told my students.

Before the break we started working with polynomials, even though our polynomials unit isn't until the Spring.  We had to cover a few topics before the break because the spring calendar is packed and with testing coming up later in the spring, some of it had to be moved to the fall.  The two topics covered were adding and subtracting polynomials, and multiplying polynomials, so I was on the lookout for some ideas to do a real quick review of those topics, without just giving them a boring worksheet for practice.  While browsing this past weekend, I stumbled upon Lisa Henry's site and one of her posts about some polynomial review stations she did with her classes.

I decided on three activities, two from Lisa and the other I created myself based upon an activity that Sarah Hagan did with her students using the box method for multiplication.

Activity 1 - Exponent Puzzle

I've actually used some version of the puzzle in the past with factoring trinomials and solving equations, so when I saw Lisa using one for exponent review, I decided to create my own similar puzzle.  Students have to match up the problem and solution eventually forming a 3x4 rectangular puzzle.  You can get mine here.

Activity 2 - Polynomial Cubes

This idea also came from Lisa, but I created my own list of polynomials to work with.  Students roll the two polynomial cubs and the operation cube.  The operation cube tells them to add or subtract the two polynomials.  You establish that the polynomial from the blue cube comes first, so that their work matches the self checking key.  I asked my students to do 12 rolls and they used white boards to work out their problems and check.  You can get my version here.

Activity 3 - Polynomial Multiplication Puzzles

I created 6 puzzles fashioned after a polynomial dividing activity Sarah shared on her blog.  The puzzles are pretty easy at the start, but get progressively more challenging.  I loved the way the students had to think about patterns they saw happening in the boxes.  I'm hoping to do the dividing activity with them too, so this practice will help with the learning curve on the dividing one.  Students were given "the box" as the puzzle board and all the pieces to the polynomial multiplication problem.  They had to arrange the problem parts to find the resulting solution polynomial.  The puzzles can be found here.  I copied each puzzle on a separate colored cardstock to keep them organized.

My largest class is 30, so I had about 8 copies of each activity and I had them work in pairs.  The decided which activity they wanted to start with and when they were finished they returned it to the table and grabbed a new activity.  In all of my classes, after a quick introduction about each activity, I only had 3 groups finish early, about 5 minutes before the end of class bell.  

Here are a few shots of the fun.

Hope your first day back was as fun as ours!

1 comment:

  1. I like the polynomial activity from Sarah. I should adopt this to multiplying complex numbers.