Reflection: Coherence Puzzle it Out - Section 1: Set the Stage


The focus for this lesson is to change the arrangement of the components/terms rather than factoring or simplifying because I want students to understand the structure of an expression or equation before manipulating it.  That all sounds good but as I reflected on this part of the lesson I found myself asking why understanding structure is important and how will I know if my students actually have this understanding. 

I reviewed the CCSS standards as well as our state math standards and concluded that this kind of learning is imbedded throughout the curriculum but is not necessarily a separate skill or content piece.  This may be because understanding the structure of an expression is integral to working with that expression in any form and because Math Practice 7 is about looking for and using structure.  Either of these reasons is enough to justify this lesson for me.

Some of my students show good depth of understanding while others have been left behind somewhere along the way and are just getting by mathematically.  I know this from their responses during class discussions and from their questions during independent work time.

To see this part of the lesson unfold, watch:  Classroom Video: Vertical Alignment

When a student misused_the Distributive_Property and was corrected by a classmate, he responded that he'd forgotten that rule.  This tells me that he'd never really understood the Distributive Property but instead just memorized a rule for manipulating numbers.  I will continue to assess this student and others as we move forward to help strengthen their understanding of basic algebra. 

  Coherence: Asking myself why?
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Puzzle it Out

Unit 3: Algebraic Structure
Lesson 2 of 11

Objective: SWBAT identify components of complicated polynomial expressions. SWBAT interpret components of complicated polynomial expressions.

Big Idea: If your students like puzzles, they'll like this lesson that has them combining and recombining polynomial components like puzzle pieces.

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9 teachers like this lesson
Math, algebraic expression, Algebra, Expressions (Algebra), algebraic methods, Algebra II, master teacher project, 11th Grade
  55 minutes
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