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Algebra 1 Project Based Topics for this Teaching Module

  • Variables and Expressions
  • Order of Operations
  • Open Sentences
  • Identity and Equality Properties
  • The Distributive Property
  • Commutative and Associative Properties
  • Logical Reasoning, Conditional Statements
  • Graphs and Functions
  • Statistics, Tables and Graphs
  • Rational Numbers
  • Probability and Odds
  • Square Roots and Real Numbers
  • Writing/ Solving Equations
  • Ratios and Proportions
  • Percent Change
  • Using Formulas
  • Weighted Averages

The Plan

To understand the plan you must first understand how I teach algebra. My students have all had algebra and failed or received a D, possibly a low C, in the 8th grade. I call my class Algebra Incorporated and all of my students are consultants. My students will begin the year with this project on day two of the class.

As consultants, my students work for Algebra Incorporated, I am the CEO, and we consult on issues of concern to the global community. On the first day of a new algebra chapter, a virtual client visits and hires the class as consultants. We discuss the issues with the client and get the big picture, and with the CEO decide which four to six issues we will focus on as consultants. Once we have our issues clearly defined, we begin to study the algebra topics of the chapter. As we study algebra we discuss using this topic in relation to our job of consulting the current issues. For example, our Algebra text spends the next four chapters on graphing points, lines, inequalities, and systems, in our first semester. Being able to graph these data points allows consultants to create visual displays that are easy for their audience to make sense of and develop understanding. The hardest part of teaching the class this way is the fact that I do not have computers for my students to use in the classroom. On the days that we must have them, we must use the computer lab. Otherwise, I do have one computer, my old laptop, for student use.

The Project

As working consultants all students receive wages. Since they have all just recently moved to HighSchool, USA, they must find a place to live and settle into their new way of life. As this is their first job, and their first time to move out on their own, they must create a budget, furnish their homes, buy an appropriate wardrobe, learn to buy their own food and take care of their own health so that they do not miss work due to illness.

Week One

Consultants are given their annual salary, access to the website where they have free use of the Internet, email, Microsoft and open source software, and the document, Algebra Incorporated’s Code of Ethics and Expectations of all Algebra Incorporated Employees, An Employee’s Guide to a Successful Career. Consultants have one week (two if needed but they must move forward with week two’s work at the same time), with pay to “find” some place to live, using Google SketchUp as their real estate agent. It is required that they have a place to live that contains a home office that has 800 square feet and is no more than 20% of their entire floor plan. (Add a requirement for exercise equipment to be in this area to the document) Consultants can find the reasons for this requirement in the Expectations document on the website.

Week Two and Three

Once the floor plan is acceptable consultants must purchase the required wardrobe in order to prepare for starting employment at the beginning of week three. Wardrobe requirements are in the Expectations document on the website. (Add a travel ready wardrobe, luggage, etc., to the document.) To do this piece of the assignment consultants will use catalogs. These catalogs, provided by the CEO, list the country manufacturing each item. Consultants are to create a frequency chart including every country manufacturing items for each catalog. Each consultant must diagram one catalog each, in a bar diagram showing the largest volume to the least volume country. The purpose of this is to create a global awareness of where products come from, and to make a point that the United States is not high on this list. The idea being that the industrial age is over in the US, and consultants need an education to gain employment when they move out of HighSchool, USA.

Week Four

Now, before being work as consultants Algebra Incorporated realizes that employees all enjoy their time away from work, and look forward to their vacations. Using the same catalogs provided consultants must submit a request for their first two-week vacation. Describe all aspects of the vacation in this document, such as:

  1. Destination
  2. Travel expense
  3. Meals
  4. Housing
  5. Plan for unexpected expenses while on vacation
  6. Preparation required
  7. Purchases
  8. Doctors visits
  9. Passport, visas
  10. House or pet sitters
  11. Etc.
  12. Any other considerations

As consultants can see in the Algebra Incorporated’s Code of Ethics and Expectations of all Algebra Incorporated Employees, An Employee’s Guide to a Successful Career, Algebra Incorporated likes to award employees with their vacation expenses as a reward for their hard work and perfect attendance. In order to do this, employees must submit their plan in advance for consideration. Plans may be changed or updated at any time.

Week Five and Six

Now that consultants have a place to live and work from home if needed, the proper wardrobe for meeting with clients, and a nice vacation planned, there is a need to remain healthy so that important work time is not lost due to illness. It is now time to get to work and meet our first client. The CEO of Algebra Incorporated has decided the first client of the year for the new consultants is Dr. Health. Dr. Health has a passion for teaching children all over the world how to eat healthy food, how to make wise nutritional choices, and how to fight obesity, which is his pet peeve. He works 365 days a year and strives to reach out to anyone under the age of twenty-five. He focuses on this group because they are still growing and developing their lifestyles. He wants these lifestyle choices to lead them to a long and healthy life full of strength and comfort. As consultants you must first learn something about nutrition in order to serve this client. To do this each consultant will:

  1. Retrospectively look at their own personal eating and exercise habits
  2. Use “the pantry”, as provided by the CEO, to develop menus for either weight gain, weight loss, or various diet needs as assigned by the CEO
  3. Examine staple diets globally and prepare recommendations for fighting the global issue of obesity

This completes the review of Grade Seven Mathematics Standards and paves the way for the successful use of algebra vocabulary and development of abstract concepts. There is now twelve weeks of the first semester remaining to teach linear equations and systems of equations.