Learning with power

Posted on January 19, 2016


ALEKS has the students doing “order of operations” and powers of ten in the pre-algebra course this week.  My early bird to the lab had 17 more “pieces of pie” for this week when I walked by — pretty excellent since they have all week to do them.   Finishing them opens up access to a quiz that they get three swipes at, with different quizzes having different numbers but exactly the same problem type for each number.  Students are required to Show All Work on the yellow quiz sheets (you bet, different teachers have different degrees of adherence to that), so if you do poorly first time, you can get the correct “explanation,” write it down, and then apply it to the next attempt, and you get three attempts.    I don’t like how much time it takes (especially for a kiddo with, say, a touch of dysgraphia!) but I do like watching significant numbers of students (tho’ I want it to be more) actually learn how to go back and correct their math,and even their thinking:-)

To write 100,000 as a power of ten … he was trying to recall that “it has something to do with the number of zeroes.”  Here’s where the Mathew Effect kicks in (them’s that has, gets, them’s that lacks, loses).   He probably would have gotten to the trick that the number of zeroes is the same as the power of ten… without connecting that to any concept whatsoever.  I went through the powers (“10 x 10 is 100, 100 x 10 is 1000…) moving down the places… and he’s got decent number sense so connections might have been made but I’d liked to have tied this into the “trick” of moving decimal places to multiply by ten, too…

And it’s Tuesday and I took the bus, which confirmed that yes, the roads really are clear so I could have ridden in, but the 5 degree temps would mean an extra five minutes indoor exertion to warm up and I decided I need to get an evening indoor exercise thing going anyway and brought the bicycle upstairs — we’re to get a few inches tonight, so I’ll be on the bus tomorrow, too.   $84/year for infinite bus use (photo pass, so non-transferable and yes, if you lose it, you have to buy another one).




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