Algebra Challenge:  A Week in Review

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This week freshmen at Roberto Clemente Community Academy focused on solving for variables in algebra class through algebraic equations, interactive computer games, and real life problems. Students started off the week by breaking apart equations by identifying variables, constants, and like terms within each problem. Students applied the steps necessary to solve for specific variables. Many students felt that this type of math was causing them to use their higher level thinking skills and that they needed to be diligent in their work in order to get to the correct answer.
In order for the students to be able to visualize equations, students were also given the option to use manipulatives to help develop their skills. Students who were provided manipulatives were tasked with the challenge of creating numerous two-step equations for their partner to solve. Students were able to use hands-on manipulatives in order to visualize the problem. Other students who chose to enhance their skills with the use of a technological game called “Algebra Meltdown,” were tasked with being virtual scientists who were helping to place the correct number of atoms into a chemical generator. Students were provided an equation and had to figure out what the variable was in order to keep the generator running.
As the end of the week approached, students embodied the IB learner profile by being reflective as they looked back on how far their equation solving skills have come in the past week. Students will continue to practice developing their algebra skills as they head into the next unit: Statistics in Chicago.