Making Authentic Modeling Possible


The first thing you have to understand is that asking people to model with mathematics makes them mad. Not in all contexts, though! At a social gathering with a generally amiable and curious group of people, you might try floating a question like:

  • I wonder if graduates of more expensive universities tend to earn more in their careers?
  • Do you think the time it takes a pendulum to swing back and forth depends on how heavy it is?
  • What do you think is the most efficient way to get 2,000 calories a day?

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Making Peace with the Basics of Trigonometry

Six months ago, I hated trigonometry.

In fact, when my daughter missed a week of school, she announced on her first day back, “Someone has to teach me trig because I missed the whole thing.” Her father jumped in, “That’ll be me. Your mother hates trig.”

At least that used to be true. I have since made peace with my least favorite topic, in large part because of my experiences with the Illustrative Mathematics Geometry course. Let me tell you ways that the IM Geometry course has helped.

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Presenting IM Algebra 1, Geometry, Algebra 2

When I was teaching high school mathematics, my local colleagues and I spent a whole lot of time creating problem-based lessons. We were convinced that this style of instruction was a good way to learn, but the textbooks in use at our school simply contained definitions and theorems, worked examples, and practice problems. One day I was talking to my dad about how much time I had been spending lesson planning. His response was, “People have been teaching geometry for, what, 3,000 years? Shouldn’t the lessons be, like, already planned?”

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Extra Supports for Algebra 1: The Gateway Resources

By Sadie Estrella

Illustrative Mathematics’ high school curriculum is scheduled to be released this summer. This is an exciting time for Algebra 1, Geometry, and Algebra 2 teachers. I honestly am ready to take a job at a school just to have the opportunity to teach with this material (and everyone knows I am always dreaming of being back in the classroom). However, I want to bring light to a hidden gem I think not too many people are aware of that is also part of our high school materials.

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Truth and Consequences Revisited

By William McCallum

What are extraneous solutions?

A while ago I wrote a blog post about solving equations where I talked about seeing the steps in solving equations as logical deductions. Thus the steps
\begin{align*}3x + 2 &= 5\\3x &= 3\\x &= 1\\ \end{align*}

are best thought of as a sequence of if-then statements: If $x$ is a number such that $3x + 2 = 5$, then $3x = 3$; if $3x = 3$, then $x = 1$. Continue reading “Truth and Consequences Revisited”

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