Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Homework to Prep Your Students for Slope

Just before I introduced the slope formula to my students, I wanted them to practice the two most essential skills they needed to use it successfully:
1. Subtracting positive and negative integers
2. Simplifying fractions
We spent a significant amount of time on these topics (among others) at the beginning of the year, as I assume most Algebra I teachers are wont to do. In general, the students did very well at this, but they also tend to forget things not long after learning and being tested on them.

So I created this homework assignment for just after we had started finding the slope of a line using the graph, but before using the formula. I know it says "these 2 pages" contain what they need, but I think the second page, which was from a teacher resource workbook wasn't as important as that first page.

Kate said...

I like how you have them simplifying fractions containing two negatives - I need to add that somewhere next year.

Mr. D said...

Kate,

Those little things were essential, because I kept seeing students making the same simple mistakes. For example, they'd simplify a fraction to -1/-2, but leave it as is. They also tend to leave fractions like 5/1 and 0/7 as is, and that was just as important as subtracting the numbers correctly, because it could change their answer or confuse them on a multiple-choice test.

A similar idea I've had to work on throughout the year is when to use decimals and when to leave fractions as fractions. It's not an easy skill to master, especially when we cover so many different types of problems in a short time. I'm still looking for alternate solutions to that problem!

mrslafave said...

The instructions mention that the assignment is 2 pages long. The pdf only has the front page. What topics did you include in the second?

Tom DeRosa said...

@mrslafave, as I wrote in the last line of the post, the second page was simply more practice from a resource book. This could be from any resource with similar problems. Since this was meant to be a basic introduction, I didn't go into any more challenging topics with this short homework assignment.