Today we started a new phase in our algebra unit called minus and parentheses. So far everything we have done with our algebra unit has been with addition and multiplication. We are now adding the concept of the minus sign which has three different meanings: negative, subtraction (take away), and the opposite of. Just like the other concepts this year we will start this concept with the lab gear to give students the visual and hands-on before moving to just pencil and paper. Last year students used pink blocks for positive numbers and green blocks for negative numbers. In 8th grade we add a level of complexity because the blocks are the same color but the students are working with something called a workmat that has different areas. I know that some students understand positive and negative numbers without the visual but I'm really asking the students to keep an open mind and follow along because it will help them get a deeper understanding of the math. I have had four students from last year come back and tell me how easy algebra is at the high school because of all the work we did in my pre-algebra class. This phase in our algebra unit will probably bring us all the way to Thanksgiving.
Students turned in their 3 ways to multiply polynomials project today. I will try to get these graded as soon as possible but I did tell the students that they need to give me at least a week. However, as I grade projects I will enter the scores into skyward.