Quadratic Unit Reflection

There’s only one lesson in the Quadratic Functions unit – units sure go by fast when math classes are 2.5 hours a day! Even though I cover about twice as much as I normally would in a 70-minute class, it seems more intensive, and sometimes overwhelming (especially for some students).

I’m trying to take this into consideration when planning my lessons, and making sure days aren’t content heavy and have a lot of time for practice work, but some days are better than others in this regard. Some topics are more intense (simplifying rational expressions), and others are less complicated (adding or subtracting polynomials). The hard part is students want every day to be part of the latter group. To combat this, I’m trying to model and instil more growth mindset — it’s when we are challenged and struggle that learning happens. 

One thing I really wanted to use in this unit was Mr. Orr’s Beautiful Functions Challenges. I did use a couple of them, but couldn’t figure out how to fit them all into the 6 lessons I had allocated for this unit. I think part of the problem is I’m not intimately familiar with the curriculum for this course, and can’t see the forrest for the trees at this point. I’m giving myself a break on this though, because I know it can take years of teaching the same course to get there. All I can do is keep trying to keep things interesting within my teaching and assessment strategies.

So, instead of doing a unit project with functions art (I’m thinking this might be the culminating project for the course – or part of it?), I’ve decided to go another direction and get the students to model the Baby Boom birth rate data from Canada (based on this assignment from Mrs. Olga Sediako’s website, which has been a great resource for me in planning this course). I like this assignment because it allows the students to develop important skills like researching, retrieving real data, and applying Mathematical models to extract interesting characteristics of that data. As an academic by training, these types of skills are incredibly important and useful. We’ll see how the students see it!

The test for this unit is on Thursday, and the next unit is Exponential Functions. I’m really hoping to do a 3-Act Math activity in that unit, because there’s so many real-life situations that can be models with exponentials.

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