Math = Love: Portfolios, Interviews, and Exponent Rules

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Portfolios, Interviews, and Exponent Rules

 Portfolios and Interviews

So, I have less than two days left to obsess over my upcoming first interview.  I've been researching the school district to find out as much as possible about it.  There isn't much information on the school website, but I did read through the middle school handbook to get a feel for the school.

My portfolio is ready and assembled.  I feel so professional having a portfolio.  It contains my resume, test scores since I have not received my teaching certificate yet, transcript, student teaching evaluation forms, two sample lesson plans, and copies of the curriculum I created to help my 8th grade pre-algebra students prepare for the 8th Grade Math OCCT Test.  I also included my slope foldable in the front pocket.

I also spoke with a principal today of a different school district about setting up an interview for next week!    This would be a high school position where I would have more opportunities to determine what courses I would be teaching.  I should have a specific date for this interview in a few days.   

Exponent Rules

In other news, my 8th graders are still reviewing for our upcoming OCCT test.  We have been reviewing exponent rules, how to multiply and divide numbers in scientific notation without a calculator, when to flip the sign on an inequality, measures of central tendency, and more.  To help the students remember that we subtract the exponents when dividing, I told them that the division bar looks like a giant subtraction sign.  I'm hoping that this mental image will help them remember what to do with the exponents.  However, when students do remember to subtract, many of them will subtract the exponents and then say that number as the answer.  So, m to the 9th power divided by m to the 6th power equals 3 in their world.

I was talking to the Algebra 1 teacher next door about teaching exponent rules, and she said that she tells her students that "a power to a power is very powerful" so we have to multiply the exponents.  Every time the students encounter a problem, she makes this statement, emphasizing the words "very powerful."  Then, she makes her students repeat the sentence.  So, by the end of the school year, the students understand how to take a power to a power.     

If anybody has any creative suggestions on how to explain to students when to add the exponents, I would love to hear them.  If students are having trouble understanding, I like to have them write out the problem without exponents.  So 2 cubed becomes 2 * 2 * 2.  And 2 squared becomes 2 * 2.  So, 2^3 * 2^2 = 2 * 2 * 2 * 2 * 2.  There are 5 2's so that is the same as 2 to the 5th power.

1 comment:

  1. I am currently student teaching. This is what I shared with my algebra students. I write P M A down the side of a piece of paper.

    Product -> (2^3)^4 = 2^(3*4) = 2^12
    (draw an arrow down to multiply) "look down a line to remember what to do with exponents. I see I need to multiply them."

    Multiply -> 2^3 * 2^4 = 2^(3+4) = 2^7
    (draw an arrow down to add) "look down a line to remember what to do with exponents. I see I need to add them. Also keep in mind the bases need to be the same!"

    Add -> 2^3 + 2^4
    (draw an arrow down to... blank space) "look down a line to remember what to do with exponents. Wait, there's nothing there. I cannot do anything with the exponents."