Reflection: Writing Across the Disciplines Comparing Investments: A Math Assessment Project Classroom Challenge - Section 7: Writing and Reflecting: Comparing Investments

In this section, students worked on completing an Idea Organizer to compare and contrast the different investments modeled in today's performance task.

The writing prompt was a piece of the lesson that I added to the original Performance Assessment Lesson from the Math Assessment Project. Adding a written component to performance tasks and/or group work really can help strike a nice balance between assessing group AND individual understanding of key concepts in the unit.

In reflecting upon how this section played out in the classroom, I keep coming back to the importance of explicit instruction and time in the classroom. Many of my students have never been taught how to write a solid expository piece of writing, never mind how to organize their ideas. I try and take the time in class to teach students how to organize their ideas but also time to practice and apply the skill.

The end result can be powerful. The sample student work are both from my fundamentals section of Algebra I, which is a tracking designated for students who benefit from additional mathematics support (everyday for about 90 minutes as opposed to the CP and Honors sections that meet every other day for the same time). The Student Work 1 Comparing Investments shows a group that is doing a nice job of justifying their thinking with evidence. Although there may be other investments that make more money over time, I was pleased to see the use of details and evidence in this group crafting their response. The Student Work 2 Comparing Investments is an example of a written response that indicates an emerging understanding of the idea that exponential growth functions will eventually outpace linear functions over time.

Note that students are not simply stating which investment they would choose, but are beginning to learn how to use evidence to justify their claims. As this lesson is taught relatively early in the school year, I am pleased with the progress in mathematical writing that students have made since September.

Writing Across the Disciplines: Organizing Ideas for Better Written Ouput

Comparing Investments: A Math Assessment Project Classroom Challenge

Unit 3: Everything is Relative: Linear Functions
Lesson 8 of 10

Big Idea: Students compare simple and compound interest problems as a backdrop for distinguishing between linear and exponential functions across representations!

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Subject(s):
Math, Algebra, linear models, modeling, exponential function, linear functions, Common Core, master teacher project
90 minutes

Jason Colombino

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