Unit 1 is all about polynomials. Like terms, distributive property, exponent rules. All mixed in with integers and fractions, which are pretty shaky concepts for many of our students. My plan is to work on integers and fractions as daily warm-ups and through the lessons to slowly bring everyone up to the level they need to be in order to be successful. But I'm getting ahead of myself.
Today we started with a puzzle that I found in our textbook (McGraw-Hill Ryerson). I had students pick cards to form random groups of 3 and they worked at the whiteboards around the room.
I included a hidden extra clue but none of the groups needed it (yay!). They did really well, in terms of the mathematics but also working in teams. I had an extension ready to go for the groups that finished quickly - I asked them to work on creating their own magic square (still 4 x 4) but using some negative numbers. That was very challenging, so I think I might ask them to create a 3 x 3 one next time around.
With about 20 minutes remaining (our classes are 75 minutes long), we started our first visual pattern together. If you are not familiar with visual patterns you should head over to Fawn Nguyen's site by clicking here.
We came up with three different ways of seeing the pattern growing. For each one we came up with the rule based on the step number.
I also asked them to create DeltaMath.com accounts. They will be able to get extra practice there.