Quadratics Portfolio Day 1 of 3

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SWBAT explain key concepts and ideas from the Quadratics unit while reflecting on their own learning.

Big Idea

In this end of the unit alternative assessment, students create portfolios to demonstrate their understanding of key concepts and show their progress as math students.


25 minutes

The purpose of the opening of class today is to introduce the portfolio and the work that is required to complete it.  If students in my class have already done a math portfolio for another unit, I usually ask them to share out what a math portfolio is and what putting one together is like.  For more info about what a math portfolio is, see the Math Portfolio document in my Teaching Strategies folder.

Next, students will watch a video of a student talking about her experience working on a math portfolio:


Next we’ll take a look at the Quadratics Portfolio Assignment together and go through the requirements. I usually explain the Introduction and the Personal Reflection sections as the bread part of a sandwich, where their work will go in the middle.  So I’ll start by talking about the Introduction and the Personal Reflection first and what the purpose is of those two sections.  Next, we’ll discuss the meat of the portfolio. This is the section where students will be highlighting their best work, providing explanations, and making connections.

Once we’ve gone over what the portfolio is all about and what the expectations are, I’ll leave time for student questions and comments. 


30 minutes

Students will now get to work on starting their portfolios.  I like to help students stay on task by asking them to set a goal of what they would like to accomplish by the end of class.  I’ll make a list at the board with their names and what part of the portfolio they plan to work on right now.  

Students usually start by working on the Introduction to the unit or by looking through their work to pull out pieces from the unit they would like to include.  Some students need help organizing their work.  If students are missing key pieces, they will have to redo them in order to put them in the portfolio so you may want to have extra copies on hand.

As students are organizing their work, try to let them decide what pieces should go in their portfolios. I continually remind them that the purpose of the portfolio is for them to have an opportunity to show what they have learned.  When they are thinking of pieces to include, I encourage them to show work that best demonstrates their learning. I might ask questions like:

  • What learning does this piece of work demonstrate?
  • What was the key idea behind this assignment or task?
  • What does this work show that you know?

Closing + Homework

5 minutes

To close out today's lesson, I will ask my students to respond to the following prompt:

As you look back over your work in this unit, you are probably reminded of many different activities we did in class.  Complete the following sentence with respect to something we learned in this unit: I remember when we …

In order to keep the work moving on the portfolio and to keep students from getting overwhelmed, I like to assign a portfolio homework assignment at the end of each class that we are working on portfolios.  Again, I go around the room and let each students decide what s/he will complete by the start of tomorrow’s class. I keep a record of what’s students decide so I can check at the beginning of class tomorrow.


Note: This material is adapted from the IMP Teacher’s Guide, © 2010 Interactive Mathematics Program. Some rights reserved.