In our Geometry classes we have the odd situation of needing finish all the Geometry 5 weeks before the end of class, due to when our standardized-test-to-graduate is given.
Part of the time I could finish my logic unit, but that still left 3 weeks. The teachers at our school decided to start on Algebra 2. In the time span given I had great puzzlement over what to include. I didn’t want a stub of understanding that would just have to be repeated the next year.
I knew (based on requests from students who had heard of my Trigonometry classes doing the lesson) my class wanted to do the football lesson. To get there the students needed to reach systems of equations. Could they make it in 1-and-a-half weeks? (Not 3, they need time to review for the final.)
Here’s my sequence:
1. Solving multi-step equations (1-step and 2-step equations are probably the only thing from Algebra 1 they can do reliably well)
2. Rearranging equations to solve for a single variable (for example, isolating the h in ).
3. Systems of equations by substitution (no graphing or other solving methods).
Strangely enough, it is working. In the interests of time all the above sections I cut purely down to their abstract manipulations, with the understanding we would be applying our knowledge to the football lesson (which the students are insanely excited about). I have also been hinting how each part applies to the larger picture.
I’ve never had teaching systems of equations go so problem-free in my life. Is it because the curriculum has too much baggage in between, or is it because the students know exactly what goal they are leading to? Is dropping the Rule of Four (which I had to do here) sometimes a good idea?