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eMath September 2017 Newsletter

A new school year has started in the great Northeast. The light is getting dimmer while the trees are getting prettier. We’ve been all sorts of busy this past month at eMathInstruction working on making our site easier to use and coming up with add-ons to the courses. Let’s get right into those.

Let’s begin with the Common Core Algebra I Add-Ons. This month we’ve added two new lessons. One fits into Unit #3 between Lesson 6 and 7 (so I’ve given it Lesson 6.5). The lesson title is Motion and Average Rate of Change. We’ve seen quite a few motion problems on the Common Core Algebra I Regents Exam, so I thought it was time we devoted a lesson just to them. We also added Unit 4 – Lesson 9.5 on Solving Absolute Value Equations. We emphasized simple algebraic equations and more complicated graphical ones. Interestingly enough, there is no mention of solving any absolute value equations algebraically in the Common Core Standards, only graphically. Which is why you’ve only seen them that way on the Regents exams. Here’s a good example from June of 2016.

Moving right along to Common Core Geometry, recall that our add-ons to the Common Core Geometry curriculum this year will be the Unit Reviews and Unit Assessments. This month we’ve added on every student’s favorite, Unit #3 – Triangle Congruence Proof. We’ve given you a long set of additional problems and a nice assessment. We’ve also published the standards alignment documents in our Table of Contents section. If you’ve been itching to do some standards mapping to our Geometry curriculum, check out that link.

For our Common Core Algebra II Add-Ons this month we bring you an additional assessment and lesson. We created a Unit 3 Formative Assessment make up exam. This rounds out the Form B exams for Common Core Algebra II. Now each unit has both an assessment and a mirror make up assessment. We may consider adding additional make up assessments if teachers think it’s a good idea. We also added a lesson to Unit 4. Lesson 7.5 is titled Exponential Modeling Revisited and looks at moving between time units in exponential modeling. For example, if a growth model is given in hours, what would its equivalent look like if modeled in days instead. We’ve seen numerous questions on the New York State CC Alg II Regents exam on these types of questions.

Finally there is the old-faithful Algebra 2 with Trigonometry Add-On for this month. After a great deal of resistance on the part of yours truly, I’ve finally created a lesson on factoring trinomials with a method other than guess and check. I created Unit 3 – Lesson 6.6 – Factoring Trinomials Using the AC Method. Teachers who are familiar with this method of factoring already probably have a sense for how this lesson will work. I still believe guessing and checking is important for students, but this method does work and does produce reliable results, at least it does if a student can find the two integers that satisfy the product and sum conditions.

A final note on add-ons in general. I’ve been struggling with how to arrange them and have decided to keep placing resources into the add-ons so that they are in Unit order. That means add-ons from last year mix with ones from this year. For teachers who want to only see new add-ons, this isn’t the greatest way of organizing them. Still, for the teacher who just wants to see what resources are there for a particular unit, this is a very effective way to  have them arranged. As always, if you have any thoughts either way, feel free to reach out to me.

In other New York Math News, it looks like the Board of Regents finally voted on and adopted the New York State Next Generation Mathematics Learning Standards (or NYSNGMLS). Click on that link to open the full 170 page pdf document on the standards. They were just adopted so there are many news articles on them. Here’s a good one out of Albany itself:

Goodbye Common Core: New York’s New English, Math Standards Are Here – Albany Times Union

One of the most important parts of this piece is the following excerpt:

I’ve been waiting on some official word of the timeline before we started to modify our own text. Looks like I have a few years to make that happen. We may, when the time comes (2020), publish a New York edition to our Common Core texts. I’m hopeful by that time we’ve moved to an electronic only textbook. Thanks to Brian Battistoni, my good friend and colleague from Arlington High School, for the heads-up that the Next Gen standards had been officially adopted.

Well, I think that’s it for now. I’m hopeful that everyone has had a good start to their school year. As always, if you are having any troubles with your subscriptions or any suggestions on the curriculum, don’t hesitate to email me at: Kirk@emathinstruction.com. I’m busy, but never too busy to help.