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Q&A #515

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

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From: John Donaghy

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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