Transformations

One of the very first posts I found when I discovered the blogging world was this one that I saw on pinterest.  I think I found it this summer.  Ever since then I have been so excited to do this lesson with my kids!  I changed up the foldable a bit since I teach dilations in a different unit, but the basic idea is the same.

I also talked up the foldable quite a bit to the kids today and they returned my enthusiasm with a healthy amount of middle school fake excitement.  But I appreciated it anyway 🙂

Transformations

Transformations Foldable

Angle Relationships

I read this post by Angie over at Coefficients of Determination, and she basically sums up everything about my teaching that has changed this year.  Last year, I had the kids do a ton of graphic organizers.  I don’t think this was a bad thing.  It is just that foldables are so much more interactive and engaging and they also provide a great way for students to study for assessments.  This specific post showed a graphic organizer that Angie had used in the past that she changed into a foldable.  I took her foldable and made something very similar, except I used the 4 angle relationships that I teach vs the ones she teaches.  I loved how her foldable allowed students to fold the words so they were on top or the pictures so students could study either way.

Angle Relationships Foldable

Last weekend I was looking for a book for one of my students, and I found my set of K’nex from when I was a kid.  BAM!  Brilliant idea.

I gave the kids a set of K’nex and they needed to create each one of the four types of angle relationships we had learned about.  They loved it.  Can’t wait to think of more things I can do with these.  Plus, I want to get all of the old directions and build the K’nex rollercoaster I had as a kid.

20130129-131052.jpg

Percents

I don’t know what is going on with my kids this week!  The motivation factor has totally disappeared.  Students aren’t doing homework and aren’t prepared for class.  But more than that, all of a sudden the motivation to understand the material is suddenly gone.  I hope this lack of motivation comes back cause it is rough in 7th grade right now!

On to better things, even if the motivation is gone, I feel like we’ve done some ok lessons this week.  Percents are hard for a lot of kids, so I’ve done a lot of basic practice stuff instead of fancy stuff. 

Monday we worked on percent increase and decrease with this activity:

20130115-144315.jpg

Then Tuesday we did a foldable on commission and sales tax.  This one has me baffled.  I am truly struggling to understand why the kids don’t get this.  I agree that commission may be something they aren’t familiar with at all, but sales tax should be something they see all of the time.  I know they don’t figure it out when they go to the store, but I guess they really don’t know where that total price comes from. 

20130115-144058.jpg

Then today we worked on simple interest.  This was by far the best day as far as student comprehension.  I felt much better at the end of this lesson like maybe we were actually on the same page!

20130117-142252.jpg

Wish me luck in bringing back that motivation to my students tomorrow and next week!

Solving One Step Equations

We did a ton of practice with one step equations this week.  I began with a four door foldable, but only had the kids fill out the top two doors on addition and subtraction on the first day.

20121003-143052.jpg

I always have the kids do 2 colors for their notes, one for the problem and one for the work.  This is my attempt to show them what they will be given for the problem vs what they will have to do.  I also feel like the kids are focused a little more simply because they can write in marker and marker is fun!

Then the kids did a pass the equation activity.  I stole this from someone, so if it was you, let me know because I can’t find the original post and want to give you credit!  The first person made up an equation and wrote it on the top of the notecard, then they passed it to person 2 who could only do the inverse operation, then to person 3 who had to solve the problem.  Then they passed back to the owners to grade the problem. 

20121003-105502.jpg

The next day, we did my #made4math equation envelopes activity.  Really, the kids were just practicing solving a bunch of equations, but thinking of the variable like an envelope with the answer hidden inside.  Then they checked their answers with actual envelopes.  Just a little something out of the ordinary instead of me checking for them. 

20121004-102333.jpg     

Then we filled in the last two doors in the foldable, multiplication and division.

20121005-103153.jpg

And finally, my very first tarsia puzzle.  I have been reading so much about these in the blog world.  This tarsia had all 4 operations, and they had to solve the equations and match them up to sides that had the answer.  This went pretty well.  I for sure would do this again for my advanced class, but my other classes struggled more with it.

20121005-103346.jpg

Ready to move on to inequalities next week!

Order of Operations

For the order of operations, we are starting with this foldable:

20120918-105356.jpg      20120918-105449.jpg

Our school is pushing cross curricular writing assignments this year.  So, I am also having the kids do a paper for the first time.  They will be explaining why we use the order of operations and then explaining the steps.    So I will grade the math content and then pass the papers on to our language arts teacher who will grade the writing.  I found this awesome page to use for a graphic organizer.

The kids also did a matching activity cause I just can’t resist them.  The were given the original expression and then a page will each line of the work to show along with a list of the PEMDAS steps.   They had to figure out what step would go next and the reasoning.

20120919-101538.jpg

I am obsessed with these kind of activies these days.  They get the kids talking and working with all of the pieces like  puzzle and they have to prove what they know so much more than if they were just copying down examples.

Then tomorrow we will do some problems on white boards and also play this game.  I am so excited for the game because I have been hearing about it going really well from twitter friends!

The one thing I am struggling with is the off task talking and behavior during the group activities.  I love doing them so much more than what I used to do, but I am facing a new set of problems that I haven’t had before.  I have tried group points, individual rewards, whole class points, if they don’t finish- it is their homework… and nothing seems to make a huge difference.  I am now going to try putting 3 little post it flags on their desks, and if they are off topic or wasting time I will take one away.  If you loose them all you get a planner signature, if you keep them all you get a reward ticket for our drawing.  Hopefully I will report good things!  If you have ideas that have worked for you, please let me know!!

First Foldable- Number Properties

I had the kids do their first foldable today!  In the past, I have done many graphic organizers, but nothing that I would officially consider a foldable.  The lesson was number properties, and there were 6 that students needed to learn, so I made a 6 flap page.  It went great!  On the outside we did the name of the property and a phrase to help the kids remember, on the inside of the door we did an example and the definition.  I am excited to continue making these with the kids. 

    

So then after I had my class make the foldable, they then had to name the properties from given expressions and fill in the other side of the equal signs when given the property.   They did amazing!  I was walking around and heard them saying things like, “No, the 17 and 8 are in the same order, that can’t be commutative” and “Isn’t it supposed to be broken apart to demonstrate the distributive property?” They were doing it!  The perfect group work situation.  The perfect end to an amazing week.  THIS is the feeling that I hold on to when there are those inevitable bad days.  THIS is why I do it.