Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Factoring Polynomials Foldable/Project

So, in Trigonometry, we were working with factoring polynomials (differences/sums of cubes, grouping, synthetic division, and long division), which I must say are rather yuck for kids. Anyways, after introducing synthetic substitution and linking it to division, I told the kids that they would be doing a little project over the weekend: researching the other methods (with provided links) and creating a four corner foldable with steps/examples/hints etc.
This was the description of the project that I gave to the kids. The logic behind the project was to begin creating study material for their unit test (this did not prove to be a wonderfully successful one but we're doing better in unit 3) while also having the kids describe steps in the factoring methods and thinking about what was happening.

Some of the projects looked awesome and the kids had some fun with it and others, well they weren't as pretty. It's okay, it wasn't a huge project (they're doing another one right now.... I'll describe it later).

downside: the kids didn't do real difficult examples so when we talked about them, they weren't as pretty (ie: diff/sum of cubes), I should have done a prerequisite day focusing on the factoring done in Algebra 2 (GCF/diff of squares/Trinomials) to better prepare us, I'm also not sure how much they are using them
upside: they did create a reference for themselves on what was occurring in each method (they could have continued to add to their notes), they were very pretty visuals, we got to do a gallery walk where the kids looked at what others had to say

After the gallery walk, I had the kids explain their steps and how to do examples to me and the class. This is where we noticed the struggle with more complex examples. Next time, definitely doing a prerequisite assignment as well as providing specific examples to include on their sheets next to the resource ones.

Welp, we live and we learn! When I did factoring with the Algebra 2 kids, we did stations (much to their dismay, they're not big fans of walking around the classrooms). In the stations, the kids did this exact process with a premade 4 square foldable (I created a word doc with a 2x2 table prelabeled with the different methods and spots for steps/examples/notes). I almost prefer this as I was able to monitor but again, I like the flipped classroom idea. The flipped classroom is something that I've really been trying to start to use in my class or at least the idea of "preheating" the oven.

For example, last week, I had my kids do an Assistment Assignment (this is an online tool that my school uses where I can upload questions or anything, I put Kahn videos and what not into mine where they can leave comments or questions about the topics) where they were to read/watch about finding the inverse of a function. Well this week, 42/62 kids did their homework and Monday, well, it went much better as we had all been exposed to the topics over the weekend so they weren't as scary :) Now, three weeks ago when we tried this an 17/62 kids did their homework, well Monday was simply scary and unit 2 had an ugly test day. I think we've learned alot.

Well, I hope :)

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