Tuesday, June 9, 2015

6/9 End of the Year

Today was the last meeting of the math club for the school year. I feel a bit elated to have made it through an entire year and sad at the same time to see some of the kids move onto middle school. The card above from one of the girls was definitely a highlight of the day. If you like a teacher make sure to write or have your kids write a note at the end of the year.

For the last session I had the kids do a straight out algebra readiness assessment from Art of Problem Solving: http://data.artofproblemsolving.com//products/diagnostics/intro-algebra-pretest.pdf  I did this mostly for all the parents who are deciding whether to have their children take sixth grade algebra or wondering if there are any holes to work on over the summer. The results were interesting to me. Generally basic skills were there although some of the trickier exponential and square root simplifications tripped up some of the club. I've never tried any kind of curriculum alignment but I  may want to insert some skill building sessions into warm up. For example have 3 or 4 single variable expressions to simplify. Another option might be to build up more complicated problem sessions around isolating variables and expression manipulation. This definitely deserves some more thought.

Secondly the problem solving section proved trickier. These again are mostly the type of problems I avoid since they closely mirror school topics. The MOEMS contests and practice probably get the closest. I'll have to consider whether to stress these more or just assume this reflects the need for more time/maturation for most 11 year-olds. As of right now my potential wait list for next years skews towards fourth graders anyway so I'm probably going to have to retool my problem levels and expectations.

One other small discovery. Moving the kids who had finished early to a mat on one end of the classroom where they ended up playing cards made it much easier for the rest of the test takers to focus.

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