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Topic: Advice for a new 7th grade Algebra teacher?
Replies: 2   Last Post: Jul 12, 2005 12:10 AM

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Kevin Karplus

Posts: 190
Registered: 12/6/04
Re: Advice for a new 7th grade Algebra teacher?
Posted: Jul 12, 2005 12:10 AM
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On 2005-07-11, <> wrote:
> I've taught high school electronics for many years. I always felt that my
> students math skills were quite poor. It was hard to believe that they were
> spending years learning math because they surely weren't demonstrating it in
> class. Now that the shoe is on the other foot, what advice does anyone have
> for making class interesting? Any suggestions are most welcome. I'll be
> teaching in North Carolina.

Disclaimer: I have not taught math at that level (lowest I've gone is
freshman discrete math for computer engineers, not counting bringng up
my kid).

Suggestion: you know a lot of algebra applications in high-school
electronics---use these examples whenever they fit the material you
are supposed to teach. Most of the examples given to 7th graders are
obviously bogus (even to 7th graders), so give them some real
applications. You may have to choose the numbers carefully to avoid
over-reliance on calculators, but you probably had to do that for the
high schoolers also.

Find other application areas---try to motivate the material rather
than just having them "sharpen tools" that they never get to use.
Turtle logo programming may help with some of the material.

Kevin Karplus
Professor of Biomolecular Engineering, University of California, Santa Cruz
Undergraduate and Graduate Director, Bioinformatics
(Senior member, IEEE) (Board of Directors, ISCB)
life member (LAB, Adventure Cycling, American Youth Hostels)
Effective Cycling Instructor #218-ck (lapsed)
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