Reflection: ELL Students Creating your own Systems of Equations - Section 1: Launch (Warm up)


ELL students tend to struggle most in word problem related tasks. Sometimes it’s unclear whether problems are answered incorrectly due to the language or lack of content mastery. In order to fairly assess these students I first make sure that they know the vocabulary involved. I try never to overlook any term, no matter how “evident” they may seem to me. (Example; terms like “fee” and “worth”) Even if they’ve seen the term before, sometimes a word is used in a context that the student doesn’t comprehend.

Scaffolding the teaching of students to write their own word problems is a method of increasing these students’ comprehension of word problems. This lesson may actually be ok for ELL students, but I must be flexible and patient, and be of help with grammar or sentence structure  errors. More than just the vocabulary, many problems lie in certain comparatives (“as much as”, “as old as”, “less than”) or culturally specific content.

If a student’s first language is Spanish, I sometimes translate the problem for him or her. But let’s not make the mistake of thinking that ELL students cannot be successful in solving word problems until they are fluent in English. I don’t help these students by giving them more computational problems and less word problems. These students actually need more language in math class, not less. So at the end of the day, these students are exposed to the same content the rest of the class is, but I simply make sure they understand problems by asking pertinent questions, gauging their vocabulary knowledge, and being flexible and helpful with written work. 

  Word problems and ELL students
  ELL Students: Word problems and ELL students
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Creating your own Systems of Equations

Unit 6: Systems of Linear Equations
Lesson 10 of 13

Objective: SWBAT create and solve systems of equations based on their own formulated real world circumstance

Big Idea: Designing problems and applying learned skills in different real world contexts fosters higher order thinking.

  Print Lesson
Math, Algebra, Systems of Equations and Inequalities, systems of equations, Math 8, Systems of, linear modeling
  65 minutes
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