A Small Win

7th Block...yeah you read that correctly...block...put 28 mostly 9th grade Algebra 1 students in a basement room after three 95 minute block classes, lunch, and no air conditioning and you get...my favorite class of the day!

We started with the premise that it sort of sucked to be us...and we rock! The basement is empty, everyone is gone. We watch the feet of athletes and the "lucky" students departing campus before we even start our warm- up ( our windows are below ground).  But guess what? We get to make noise! No one yells at us or sends us notes to be quiet! We hoop and holler about...MATH! We shout out answers! We eat lollipops and take teeny tiny breaks.

Today I was moving the students along this line of thinking:

So we did three old and one with a new twist together. They were getting it.

I stopped them and said, there is a story about why we study this kind of equation, and not mentioning it to you would be really mean on my part and would lead all of you into thinking Algebra was just smushing a bunch of numbers around (I said an exercise in futility, but I think I lost them).

So I told them the good ol' yarn about how it takes me 5 hours to paint the livingroom by myself because I am easily distracted and how it only takes my husband 3 hours because he is concrete sequential...Then we saw the POWER in doing a job together! The students were actually impressed...which led to a discussion about the alternative economy and what they could do to earn money (I said offer your neighbors to vacuum for $5 per room, or $10 to load the dishwasher and wipe down the sink after dinner). I also told them about the water treatment plant and how some liquid is pumped in and others are pumped out at different rates. (hence the possible minuses in the equations)

They WANTED to know how long it took Dom's uncle to replace the clutch on his '74 BMW by himself when it took Dom 8 hours by himself and took them 3.5 hours together. One of my squirrelly 9th graders (who will be repeating Algebra 1 next year) and who is beginning to think like a Sophomore said, "hey, I get this, this is kinda fun." 

May not be a 3 Act yet...but it was still a powerful afternoon.

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