At long last, we conclude our tour of course outlines. The biggest problem I had with the way I taught algebra 2 last year was that each topic was taught in isolation. Once we finished quadratics, we never really went back and did anything with them. And then we learned about polynomials, and forgot about them. And then we learned about rational functions, and forgot about them.
So my primary goal for this upcoming year was to come up with a curriculum that—surprise!—flowed and referred back to previous topics. (It turns out that all of my courses last year suffered from the same problems….)
With that in mind, I finally settled on aligning the course around what I’m calling the Five Expectations. They are:
- Create and solve equations.
- Graph functions.
- Transform and combine functions.
- Describe and interpret functions and their graphs.
- Find and use inverses.
In many ways, the course outline that I came up with looks a lot like the traditional one I used last year. In the end, I decided that the problem wasn’t that the sequencing of units was wrong, but that there weren’t any threads flowing throughout the course to bring these various function families together. My hope is that the Five Expectations will focus my teaching and the students’ work in such a way that each class of functions is seen as a new tool for doing the mathematics that the Expectations describe.
Of note about the algebra 2 standards list is that there is a lot of material listed that is review. I ultimately decided to leave it all in, because (1) the rest of the department teaches those topics in algebra 2 and (2) I noticed last year that my students still really struggled with the review material. Your mileage may vary.
- 2013–2014 Algebra 2 Scope and Sequence (.docx)
- Algebra 2 Standards List (.docx) (as used as used in my class for SBG, and referenced in the Scope and Sequence)