Rookie Year: Day 134

I was tired yesterday when I was writing the daily post and so I neglected to mention something that happened that I thought was really cool because I just wanted to get it out of the way.

While I was teaching how to solve quadratic equations I was really trying to get students to see how a quadratic equation that equals 8 was a problem because we couldn’t use our fact that a*b = 0 implies that either a = 0 or b = 0. I wanted them to see how we could resolve the issue by simply moving the 8 over to the other side of the equation where the quadratic is, but most of my students were at a loss. It didn’t look like example 1 where there was a 0 on one side of the equation.

But it my middle block I managed to get a beautiful response from a student.

I said “We have an 8 but we need a 0. What can we do?”

And one of my students just said matter-of-factly “We just turn that 8 into a 0.” Ah it was so great.

Anyway today, I sang the quadratic formula to my students to the tune of pop goes the weasel and told them about my algebra teacher, who sang it to my class when I was their age. Me singing the quadratic equation loudly and off tune definitely got some laughs and some of them sang along too, which I asked them to do. I have been looking forward to that essentially by entire education career. Ever since I changed my major to math education, haha. I did have a few “too cool for school” (literally) students who refused to sing along, but that’s okay. They have to know the formula either way.

This week has gone a lot better than previous weeks and I am feeling much more upbeat about this final week leading into Spring Break than I did at the beginning. I am still concerned about finishing up the curriculum and still leaving enough time to do a comprehensive review from the previous course (Foundations of Algebra) to this one (Intermediate Algebra) so that my students are properly prepared for the state test. But I back on pace with the rest of the department. I just hope it isn’t too fast for the students, even if I am keeping up.

Thanks for reading!

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