Reflection: Students with Disabilities Properties of Exponents - Section 1: Entry Activity


The attached sample of Student Work is an entry activity sheet from a special services student in my Algebra II class.  Although the student works hard in class, he struggles with retaining concepts from one day to the next.  As you can see, he struggled with identifying many of the rules of exponents.  Things to notice:

#1-#2:  Although he correctly answered #1, he incorrectly applied the rule that he had identified to a specific example.  He should have noticed that #2 was an extension of #1. 

I shared this information and the student's work with his support teacher.  The student could be experiencing reading comprehension problems.  Another possibility for this is that he just guessed on the entry activity.  Knowing this student, however, my gut feeling is that he did not just slop something down and guess.  I think that he gave it his best effort, and is struggling with reading comprehension.  I plan to work with his support teacher to during our homeroom time and create 2-3 similar types of questions where the student is asked to solve a problem or detail a process in words, and then apply it to a pure mathematical setting.  

Example Questions for the Student and Co-Teacher to Work Through:

1)  Adding two negative numbers together yields a _________________ number.

a) positive    b)  negative   c)  neutral   d)  rational

2)  (-4) + (-11) = ____________

a)  -9     b)   -6    c)  44    d)  -15

3)  A negative times a positive is ________________ a negative number.

a)  sometimes   b)   always    c)  never

4)  (-6) x (8)

a)  -48   b)  48   c)  -14   d)  14   

Through answering these entry-content-level questions, we should be able to begin to identify if the student has a reading comprehension issue.  In my experience, support teachers appreciate documenting these efforts for the student's file and working collaboratively with content specialists. 

  Students with Disabilities: Identifying Struggling Students Before they Struggle
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Properties of Exponents

Unit 9: Polynomials and Problem Solving
Lesson 3 of 8

Objective: SWBAT fine-tune and extend their knowledge of the rules of exponents to new settings as they prepare to work with higher-order polynomials.

Big Idea: Identify and target your students' prior knowledge gaps in this introductory lesson.

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properties of exponents
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