I have a secret to tell you. Please don't tell all the other stats teachers. They'll kick me out of the club. But believe it or not, I actually LOVE teaching Algebra 2. And if I'm really being honest, sometimes I love teaching it more than stats. For me, stats is an easy sell to students. They chose to be there. It's applicable. They understand they'll need it in the future. The contexts come readily, and engaging students through data collection is easy.
But Algebra 2 can come with a set of challenges, and I love a good challenge. Students are there because they are forced to be there. Many of them think they hate math (I'll make them feel otherwise), and they don't think they will ever need this in their future. It's just a bunch of rules to memorize and regurgitate through 100 practice problems.
So how do you get your math students as engaged as your statistics students? By teaching your math class in the same way that you teach your stats class! Get students experiencing math through interesting and accessible activities. Give students a context for math with landmark activities so that when you formalize the patterns they have an understanding for what all that crazy notation means!
We've challenged ourselves to teach all of our Algebra 2 lessons this year using our experience first, formalize later format. So far it's been going great. Stay tuned for more shared lessons in the future. Check out the lesson we're using for introducing exponential equations inspired by this Mathalicious lesson. If you don't have a Mathalicious subscription yet, you should get one!
On the TV show The Walking Dead, a disease was contracted that turns people into zombies or Walkers. If the Walkers bite a human, the human is turned in to a Walker. If each Walker turns one human a week into a zombie, and none of the Walkers are killed, how long will it take until the Walkers take over the town? Get the full lesson.