Reflection: Discourse and Questioning The Cell Phone Problem, Day 2 - Section 2: Considering the First Option


I chose to use the alternate opening when I taught this class recently.  I'd been having trouble keeping the class together lately; stronger students were racing through problems without noticing the deeper implications, and weaker students were getting completely bogged down somewhere in the middle.  The alternate opening gave me more control over the pacing of the lesson and allowed me to keep everyone on track.

In conversation, I found that everyone seemed to clearly understand the notion of an average total monthly cost.  They could even see that we were simply spreading out the initial device cost more and more thinly over the time span.

However, when it came time to express the average total monthly cost as an equation, many got lost.  I found a number of students simply calculating the total cost and graphing a straight line.  Others were mixing up years and months in their equations and coming up with some strange results.  Often the other students in their groups couldn't tell what they were doing wrong, so I would have to intervene to help them.

By the end, everyone was on track, and I had managed to keep the class together.  No one was bored, but no one was hopelessly lost.  That's some kind of success!

  The Alternate Opening
  Discourse and Questioning: The Alternate Opening
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The Cell Phone Problem, Day 2

Unit 7: Rational Functions
Lesson 2 of 17

Objective: SWBAT model average monthly costs using rational functions and make comparisons between several different functions.

Big Idea: Which cell phone is the best deal? Rational functions are useful for making cost comparisons.

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3 teachers like this lesson
Math, modeling, Algebra, Function Operations and Inverses, Algebra 2, master teacher project, rational function
  45 minutes
cell phone problem 2 image
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