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Q&A #515

Teachers' Lounge Discussion: Including "low" students in the main curriculum

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From: John Donaghy <donaghjg@hsd401.org>
To: Teacher2Teacher Public Discussion
Date: 1999021020:46:51
Subject: Re: Re: re: Including Low Students in the main curriculum

Are you talking about the top three students in a class, or the top
.1%?  Those are very different animals.  The top 5% of my math
students are 8th graders taking geometry.  The top student in that
class, who probably isn't in this top .1%, on occasion writes computer
programs to which he administers my tests.   The next 20% are taking
algebra.  Most all of the rest are in a class we call Math 8.  The
classroom I described in the previous posting was this class Math 8. 
I'm sure there are ten year olds who would do great at Stanford.  I
don't think any have been in my Math 8 class.  

By untracking we strive to unleash the potential of the many; the
brightest in that middle bunch can be challenged and developed in an
untracked classroom. A current project my students are doing is to
design packages for drinking water from a recently discovered spring. 
To demonstrate highest proficiency, students will need to make
compound packages using various solids - cones, pyramids, prisms, and
even spheres.  Some students will demonstrate lower proficiency by
making more pedestrian rectangular prisms and cylinders.  The volume
must be constant across the 2 or 3 packages which the students make. 
All students will need to show understanding of volume, surface area,
how they are related, and how to calculate them.

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