Tuesday, March 4, 2008

More Ways to Use Newspapers in Algebra I

Tomorrow is the 9th grade Reading and 10th grade ELA TAKS test, so today's goal was to provide something stress-free but would still address the content and be memorable amid the distractions. Last week one of my students mentioned how our newspapers were once again piling up, and suggested we use them in class again soon. Good idea, I told him, and began thinking of how to adapt last year's materials to address these new objectives.

We are working on the foundation of functions (TAKS Objectives 1 and 2), so there are many parts that needed to be reviewed and addressed:
  • representing functional relationships as equations, tables (data sets), and graphs
  • identifying independent and dependent variables
  • analyzing information graphs (line, bar, pie, etc), making predictions and drawing conclusions
  • use equations to solve problems
  • simple inequalities (they always forget the signs)
I added and subtracted a bit from last year's end of the year review to address as much as possible. By asking them to look for cars, jobs and apartments to rent, it gave the work some real world relevance. The best part was some of my girls telling me to save the apartment rental they found for graduation so they could live together. Of course, one of them was incredulous that she was going to have to sleep in the living room of the 2 bedroom unit they picked, until I told her that's what she had to look forward to in college.

I plan on extending this after Wednesday's test by using some data graphs I found in the paper to create some questions. Those types of questions are still a challenge for them, and considering that Spring Break starts this weekend, I need to get as much done as possible beforehand.

You need roughly 1-3 papers per group, so multiply that times the number of groups and classes (see my previous article for info on getting newspapers for your classroom). You'll also need scissors and tape (glue or something to affix the clipped ads to the paper). I had students work in groups of 2-4 which worked well together. Most groups finished or were well on there way, but this will take 1.5-2 45-55 minute periods to complete.