Its almost half way through the school year and I have finally come to terms with just shutting my door and teaching.  I've struggled with teaching a Math Support class which was difficult since they use to be my favorite class to teach.  The difference this year is it is technically a SPED course and the students split time with the SPED instructor and myself.  Another difference is I do not see these students in their core math class so I can speculate their errors, but can't always guarantee them.  I also have a hard time pacing out what to work on when many are in different places especially the 7th grade courses where I teach remarkably different than the other 7th grade teacher.

Recently with my 8th graders I have given up on teaching to the pace of the course and have just began teaching a standard I know is a large chunk of 8th grade. That standard is 8.G.B - Understand and Apply the Pythagorean Theorem.  We are reaching on almost a month of working on this standard twice a week, but hopefully they will understand it.  As mentioned in a previous post, we began very simple with Geoboards looking at much lower standards of what area was progressing to an entire 50 minute class debate reasoning about whether 1 on the Geoboard can be represented the same on the diagonal/hypotenuse as the vertical and horizontal.

The Pythagorean Theorem is becoming one of my favorite topics to teach as there is so much embedded for students to truly understand and be able to reason a proof about.  Yesterday, we used an activity by CPM, College Prepatory Mathematics - A company which has pretty good understandings of manipulatives if you ever attend conferences, though I don't believe it could be used alone, where students were given the squares that they had made on their Geoboards and using three needed to construct triangles deciding if they were obtuse, acute, right, or couldn't make a triangle.  The goal was for them to see a pattern that all right triangles had equal sums when comparing the small and medium squares with the large square.  Now my students ability to accurately categorize triangles was misleading as their charts are off. I am going to compose a series of photos so we can go through the chart and re evaluate. This should help them see the pattern better. The video will play once through then we will freeze frame it to continue to evaluate the accuracy of their work

(The theme was picked for a student who likes to draw cartoon whales on his papers)
M's Video

Also attached are the chart worksheets we were using to keep track of the triangles.  (If interested in the triangles let me know and I can email the templates.)

Where to from here .... Probably some rote practice and word problems.  Do I think they have connected everything, no, but hopefully at one point all the exercises will click together and if anything their manipulations of materials will help solidify what to do on paper.


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