Thursday, June 08, 2006

 

changes

This year I am restructuring the curriculum. After spending the better part of a year attempting to fill in knowledge gaps in my 7th grade students, I have come to the conclusion that the major problem isn’t lack of knowledge. My students knew rules and steps to solving problems, however the information was never presented in a way that emphasizes connections and continuity between units. Specifically, fractions, decimals, and percents were all more or less understood in isolation. Lacking, though, was comprehension of the equality of these concepts.

My plan is to first ground my students with a solid introduction to the number line. We will explore questions such as: How many numbers are there? Are all numbers greater than zero? Are there different types of numbers? How do we know when one number is greater than another? Is there a way of organizing numbers? Asking these questions to my summer school students was an excellent introduction to the concepts I expect to cover.

After developing the foundation of numbers and the number line I will introduce each concept one at a time. First decimals, then fractions and mixed numbers, followed by percents. The idea is to first include decimals on the number line. After students understand that decimal numbers fit in between the integers we will move onto fractions. Fractions will be introduced as a new concept and students will learn to manipulate and operate on fractions. Then they too will be incorporated on the number line. I will guide my students to connect locations of common fractions and their equivalent decimal numbers on the number line. My hope is that students will be able to apply the continuity between fractions, decimals, and percents to word problems and real world scenarios.

I failed to introduce the number line until the last nine weeks when my pacing guide said I was supposed to teach integers and negative numbers. It was an invaluable tool for comparing, adding, and subtracting negative integers and I believe it will prove quite useful for connecting basic concepts as well.

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