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Thread: Pre-Algebra in 9th Grade

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    Default Pre-Algebra in 9th Grade

    We had a very difficult time with pre-algebra this year and we just found out that the boys don't meet the entrance requirements for the MPOA Algebra I class they're registered for. Their placement test showed they really need to retake pre-algebra. We're going to switch them to pre-algebra with MPOA but they will be in 9th grade this year. Pre-Algebra doesn't count for a high school credit so I'm wondering if anyone knows of summer programs/intensives they could take at some point to get four high school math credits?
    Jennifer

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    Default Re: Pre-Algebra in 9th Grade

    Quote Originally Posted by jen1134 View Post
    We had a very difficult time with pre-algebra this year and we just found out that the boys don't meet the entrance requirements for the MPOA Algebra I class they're registered for. Their placement test showed they really need to retake pre-algebra. We're going to switch them to pre-algebra with MPOA but they will be in 9th grade this year. Pre-Algebra doesn't count for a high school credit so I'm wondering if anyone knows of summer programs/intensives they could take at some point to get four high school math credits?
    Some students graduate high school with 3 math credits. If this is not an option for your family, another possibility is to double up algebra2/geometry in 11th grade. Those two math classes can be taken in either order, and can be taken concurrently. You would want to adjust their other coursework that year (possibly back off on a history class, for example) to allow time for both math classes. I would have them take the SAT as late as possible (May/June following their junior year) for the best math scores. Both algebra2 and geometry appear on the SAT and ACT.

    The math sequence may also affect their science sequence. What science are they doing this year? Oh, I see the answer in your signature. They may have a little trouble with Novare Introductory Physics taken concurrent with pre-algebra. I would hold off on Intro Physics class until they are taking algebra. If you already did Novare Earth Science and Novare Physical Science, then we need to think of a good science option. Otherwise, I would use Earth Science or Physical Science this year with pre-algebra.

    I would be thinking (Earth Science 9th), Intro Physics 10th, Biology 11th, Chemistry 12th. It is best to complete algebra2 *before* taking chemistry.
    Last edited by Cindy in Indy; 08-21-2018 at 07:39 AM.
    Cindy Davis
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    Default Re: Pre-Algebra in 9th Grade

    Quote Originally Posted by Cindy in Indy View Post
    It is best to complete algebra2 *before* taking chemistry.
    Yes. This.


    Cindy, everything you said was gold, but especially the above. And Jen? Completing though chemistry as a 12 grader is a very substantial outcome in my opinion, especially with physics early in the sequence. Just saying.


    Cindy's advice is great, and probably the way you are going to go. I can think of another way to do it, but it will take effort on your part and some nerves of steel. It's the way I would have solved the situation myself, since I am daring with non-standard solutions. IF you were to hire a tutor/intensively tutor the students (you or your husband) on your own, it would be possible to "review" prealgebra for some part of the SY, then move the students into Alg I even in this year, working a bit intensively to make good progress in this SY. THEN, the following year, the students could move from completing Alg I into Alg II, thereby completing algebra in two school years (spring of 2020). Here's why that might work:


    1. Pre-algebra is a made up term. There is no scope and sequence for this course, it is an idea. *Generally* it covers fractions, percents, and decimals. It covers word problems (distance/rate/time, etc) of the simpler variety and introduces "X". Depending on which text you are using, it can include MORE since it is a made-up term, but it is at the bottom, a review of arithmetic while moving the student toward actual mental problem solving (and introducing the idea of X). Your kids wouldn't *have* to complete the entire pre-algebra text in order to move to Alg I.

    2. Algebra itself is only a 1.5 year study. Yep, it's true. Basically, algebra is "too big" for one year of study, but it also doesn't have to take two full years to cover algebra concepts. Alg II usually contains a nice, long review of Alg I, then moves into new content, then heads toward Trig. So, it's entirely possible to segue a student, if necessary, through the approximately 1.5 years that algebra actually takes if you are willing to keep your eyes on the prize. BTW, it was my MIT kid who pointed all this out to me back in the day (his email was "allofthemaths" for many years, ha, ha).



    Undoubtedly,if you get out your Occam's Razor, Cindy's solution is the more straightforward and simplest for you. The above is a bit higher-risk-higher-reward. I don't think you can go wrong with either, although in the above MPOA can't take over until the students get to Alg II.

    Isn't homeschooling fun?!




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    Default Re: Pre-Algebra in 9th Grade

    I'm not sure what MPOA's requirements are for counting a credit, or what providers you can use, but an option to consider is something that is self-paced, like Derek Owens. Start now and go forward. Since they have had PreAlgebra, it likely won't take them all school year to complete it. That, plus the summers "buys" you another school year of math.
    Bean

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    Default Re: Pre-Algebra in 9th Grade

    I think bean and Jen are saying similar things. Derek Owens is probably cheaper than a private tutor and offers video instruction along with grading. I have never used it, but that is what I understand of the program. We have used many MPOA classes, but I have never used math because I like math to continue over the summer. My daughter is going into 10th and this might be the first semester since about 2nd grade that she is starting a new level of math at the start of the school year.

    If you know a math teacher, maybe review the results from their placement exam and have that person help you draw up a plan for what they really need to move forward.
    Dorinda

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    Default Re: Pre-Algebra in 9th Grade

    Quote Originally Posted by Mom2mthj View Post
    I think bean and Jen are saying similar things. Derek Owens is probably cheaper than a private tutor and offers video instruction along with grading. I have never used it, but that is what I understand of the program. We have used many MPOA classes, but I have never used math because I like math to continue over the summer. My daughter is going into 10th and this might be the first semester since about 2nd grade that she is starting a new level of math at the start of the school year.

    If you know a math teacher, maybe review the results from their placement exam and have that person help you draw up a plan for what they really need to move forward.
    Thank you everyone! They only made it to chapters five and six in COTR and failed almost every single item on the placement test, including everything they already covered in COTR. There are also memory challenges for one of the kids so taking an intensive or survey/review won’t work for them. My health, and juggling some special needs with siblings, are the main reasons we had so much trouble so teaching it at home will just perpetuate the problem. They don’t self-teach well when it comes to math (or science). We tried for the last few chapters so they wouldn’t be waiting on me and it obviously didn’t sink in. We switched them to MPOA’s pre-Algebra class to retake COTR.

    For science, they did Earth science last year. We looked at their Intro to physics text and it only listed pre-Algebra skills as prerequisites for success in the course (p. xi in the text). It’s being taught at our mini cottage school by a close friend who is aware of the math challenges. So we’re confortable with proceeding there....unless there’s something I’m missing? I really need them to be able to take it at cottage school (for the same reasons that got us in trouble with math) and Intro to Physics is what all the kids are taking (we only have 5 high schoolers) so there isn’t another science they can switch over to. MPOA budget is done for the year so that’s not an option for us with science.
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    Default Re: Pre-Algebra in 9th Grade

    Quote Originally Posted by jen1134 View Post
    For science, they did Earth science last year. We looked at their Intro to physics text and it only listed pre-Algebra skills as prerequisites for success in the course (p. xi in the text). It’s being taught at our mini cottage school by a close friend who is aware of the math challenges. So we’re confortable with proceeding there....unless there’s something I’m missing?
    Novare's website further notes, "Students should be enrolled in concurrent algebra I to use this book .... We make our exercises challenging, requiring students to utilize multiple concepts and skills to arrive at an answer, but nothing higher than basic algebra is required for this text." That makes it sound like concurrent Pre-Algebra & Introductory Physics may not work. Hopefully Cindy will chime in with her thoughts, and I'll forward this thread to her in case she missed it. I'm sure she's busy preparing for the start of the school year!
    Michael
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    Default Re: Pre-Algebra in 9th Grade

    Quote Originally Posted by jen1134 View Post
    ...

    For science, they did Earth science last year. We looked at their Intro to physics text and it only listed pre-Algebra skills as prerequisites for success in the course (p. xi in the text). It’s being taught at our mini cottage school by a close friend who is aware of the math challenges. So we’re confortable with proceeding there....unless there’s something I’m missing? I really need them to be able to take it at cottage school (for the same reasons that got us in trouble with math) and Intro to Physics is what all the kids are taking (we only have 5 high schoolers) so there isn’t another science they can switch over to. MPOA budget is done for the year so that’s not an option for us with science.
    Quote Originally Posted by Michael View Post
    Novare's website further notes, "Students should be enrolled in concurrent algebra I to use this book .... We make our exercises challenging, requiring students to utilize multiple concepts and skills to arrive at an answer, but nothing higher than basic algebra is required for this text." That makes it sound like concurrent Pre-Algebra & Introductory Physics may not work. Hopefully Cindy will chime in with her thoughts, and I'll forward this thread to her in case she missed it. I'm sure she's busy preparing for the start of the school year!
    I am wondering if, given Jen's constraints and her unusual cottage school opportunity -- the Intro Physics is being taught by a close friend, the teacher knows about the math challenges, and the class size is quite small -- it would be a good idea to continue in Intro Physics? or at least to talk to the teacher about the chapters/problems of concern, and find out her (or his) strategy. It seems to me that with a lot of support, and given that Jen doesn't seem to have another good option for teaching science, this could be a good solution for her children.
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    Default Re: Pre-Algebra in 9th Grade

    Quote Originally Posted by serendipitous journey View Post
    I am wondering if, given Jen's constraints and her unusual cottage school opportunity -- the Intro Physics is being taught by a close friend, the teacher knows about the math challenges, and the class size is quite small -- it would be a good idea to continue in Intro Physics? or at least to talk to the teacher about the chapters/problems of concern, and find out her (or his) strategy. It seems to me that with a lot of support, and given that Jen doesn't seem to have another good option for teaching science, this could be a good solution for her children.
    Thank you for this reassurance, Ana. It really ministered to me. I spoke with the kids’ teacher again yesterday and had my oldest look at chapter 2 where a lot of the calculation processes are covered. They will need explicit instruction in it, and their teacher is open to taking more time on the math part; but the formulas didn’t make my son want to run the other way. He knows it will take extra diligence but he wants to put in the extra work and make it happen.
    Jennifer

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    Default Re: Pre-Algebra in 9th Grade

    Quote Originally Posted by jen1134 View Post
    Thank you for this reassurance, Ana. It really ministered to me. I spoke with the kids’ teacher again yesterday and had my oldest look at chapter 2 where a lot of the calculation processes are covered. They will need explicit instruction in it, and their teacher is open to taking more time on the math part; but the formulas didn’t make my son want to run the other way. He knows it will take extra diligence but he wants to put in the extra work and make it happen.
    Sorry for the delay in my reply; I was in teacher training all day yesterday.

    I had the same thought as Ana and Jen herself: with the assistance of a capable teacher, who is willing to guide the students through, they can have a successful year in Intro Physics. I would not recommend this as a general option, but in this specific case, I think they can make it work.

    Jen, you will want to think through the rest of their high school science sequence, because of the math needed. They should not take Chemistry until they have completed Algebra2, so it looks like chemistry will wait until their 12th grade year. They can take biology in 10th (but may be tough because of the reading, memory work, and critical thinking required). If they complete biology successfully, they could take anatomy and physiology in 11th.

    Here is a possible sequence:
    Intro Physics (9th, with help of skilled teacher/guide)
    Biology (10th, perhaps continuing into 11th to finish)
    A&P (remainder of 11th grade year)
    Chemistry (12th)
    Last edited by Cindy in Indy; 08-25-2018 at 05:02 PM.
    Cindy Davis
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    Default Re: Pre-Algebra in 9th Grade

    Thank you, Cindy — especially for the heads-up on the rest of their science sequence. Unless we end up with multiple science teachers/tracks at cottage school, it looks like we’ll be in MPOA for science after this year.
    Jennifer

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    Default Re: Pre-Algebra in 9th Grade

    Jen, I'm glad you found a good solution and have a plan going forward.
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    Default Re: Pre-Algebra in 9th Grade

    An update on physics:

    My oldest (15-1/2yo, 9th grade) is really struggling but it's not the math -- it's understanding what steps to take based on the information in the word problems. For example, he was trying to convert milligrams to kilograms but didn't do the interim step of converting milligrams to grams. He's been working really hard for seven weeks but hasn't been able to take a single quiz because we know he isn't ready for them. I printed out a problem solving template (Known, Unknown, Definitions, Solve, Check) to help break down the word problem information and I told him that I want to tag-team his calculation to give him more support -- but he wants to drop the course. I want to tag-team first so I can make sure it's really over his head rather than a challenge that needs to be worked through. We started that today, he missed another interim step and when I gently pointed it out he gave up and said he's done.

    What would you do?
    Jennifer

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    Default Re: Pre-Algebra in 9th Grade

    Quote Originally Posted by jen1134 View Post
    An update on physics:

    My oldest (15-1/2yo, 9th grade) is really struggling but it's not the math -- it's understanding what steps to take based on the information in the word problems. For example, he was trying to convert milligrams to kilograms but didn't do the interim step of converting milligrams to grams. He's been working really hard for seven weeks but hasn't been able to take a single quiz because we know he isn't ready for them. I printed out a problem solving template (Known, Unknown, Definitions, Solve, Check) to help break down the word problem information and I told him that I want to tag-team his calculation to give him more support -- but he wants to drop the course. I want to tag-team first so I can make sure it's really over his head rather than a challenge that needs to be worked through. We started that today, he missed another interim step and when I gently pointed it out he gave up and said he's done.

    What would you do?
    Hi, Jenn,

    Intro to Physics is a tough course. My son took it in 11th grade after he had Algebra 1 and biology and chemistry. He still found it challenging. If he truly needs it now, I would persist, but at his mastery pace. I believe you said that he's doing this in a co-op. Perhaps he can be introduced to it there, but do the work at home at his pace. Begin at the beginning. Go back to where there is solid understanding and then build from success. Ann R is great at this. Perhaps you could reach out to her about this since you have her cell number. I'm sure she'd love problem solving this with you.

    Hugs and prayers,
    Carlyn
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    Default Re: Pre-Algebra in 9th Grade

    Quote Originally Posted by jen1134 View Post
    An update on physics:

    My oldest (15-1/2yo, 9th grade) is really struggling but it's not the math -- it's understanding what steps to take based on the information in the word problems. For example, he was trying to convert milligrams to kilograms but didn't do the interim step of converting milligrams to grams. He's been working really hard for seven weeks but hasn't been able to take a single quiz because we know he isn't ready for them. I printed out a problem solving template (Known, Unknown, Definitions, Solve, Check) to help break down the word problem information and I told him that I want to tag-team his calculation to give him more support -- but he wants to drop the course. I want to tag-team first so I can make sure it's really over his head rather than a challenge that needs to be worked through. We started that today, he missed another interim step and when I gently pointed it out he gave up and said he's done.

    What would you do?
    Jen,

    I am sorry that your son is having trouble with physics! Reading back through the thread, I am curious how he is doing in pre-algebra? Did you restart or just keep going?

    Can you send a picture of his work? Unit conversions are math and they even get significant attention in early engineering classes. I am curious how he is approaching them and how neat his work is. They require analysis and careful work and are not a “no-brainer”. Has he been working for 7 weeks on the same section or has he had trouble on multiple types of problems?

    Sorry for so many questions, but I don’t really want to give advice without knowing the big picture.
    Dorinda

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    Default Re: Pre-Algebra in 9th Grade

    Quote Originally Posted by Mom2mthj View Post
    Jen,

    I am sorry that your son is having trouble with physics! Reading back through the thread, I am curious how he is doing in pre-algebra? Did you restart or just keep going?

    Can you send a picture of his work? Unit conversions are math and they even get significant attention in early engineering classes. I am curious how he is approaching them and how neat his work is. They require analysis and careful work and are not a “no-brainer”. Has he been working for 7 weeks on the same section or has he had trouble on multiple types of problems?

    Sorry for so many questions, but I don’t really want to give advice without knowing the big picture.

    Here are his exercises from Chapter 2 conversions. He didn’t show his work on the motion exercises so I didn’t include them here. His pre-algebra work is much neater.

    They’re currently on Chapter 3 in physics — their teacher has been taking a lot of extra time on calculations since some of the other kids are struggling too. He said it makes sense in class and then he gets home and draws a complete blank.
    image.jpg
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by jen1134; 10-09-2018 at 07:42 PM.
    Jennifer

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    Default Re: Pre-Algebra in 9th Grade

    Quote Originally Posted by jen1134 View Post
    Here are his exercises from Chapter 2 conversions. He didn’t show his work on the motion exercises so I didn’t include them here. His pre-algebra work is much neater.

    They’re currently on Chapter 3 in physics — their teacher has been taking a lot of extra time on calculations since some of the other kids are struggling too. He said it makes sense in class and then he gets home and draws a complete blank.

    image.jpg
    ETA: in pre-algebra, he has made 100% on his homework submissions, his quiz for Chapters 1.1-1.4 was in the 70's
    Jennifer

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    Default Re: Pre-Algebra in 9th Grade

    Hi Jenn,
    If I focus on the unit conversion portion of your question, I would work with him on setting up unit fractions. 1000mg = 1 g, so which do we put in the numerator, which in the denominator to cancel the unit and leave the desired unit. 1000 g = 1 kg, which do we put in the numerator, which in the denominator?

    He should write the fraction with the number and the unit above and below the fraction bar; it is difficult to type it out the way it should look. He should cancel the units above and below the fraction bar to leave the desired unit. (Can cancel common units above and below the fraction bar, just like canceling a common factor in fraction multiplication.)

    I am guessing that he doesn't even realize that grams is needed here. I would spend a lot of time writing unit fractions for all the common conversions: 1609m = 1 mile; 2.54 cm = 1 inch, 1000cm^3 = 1 L, etc.

    The idea is that he will realize after the first step that he didn't get to kg, so he needs another unit fraction, 1 kg = 1000 g.

    How is he doing with scientific notation and using that properly in his calculator? That will help him compute the right value in the right form. Hollie can assist him with that skill.

    I don't remember, did he do Physical Science last year? Ch 8 and beyond really focuses on unit conversions, and teaches it at a pre-algebra level. There are so many things going on in Intro Physics (sig digs, more advanced algebraic solving of equations, etc) that it may all be getting jumbled. There is an abstract reasoning ability that develops at different times for different students. You can keep working patiently with him, but he just may not be ready (even though he is 15 1/2, and I know that is hard!) The fact that he wasn't ready to move on to algebra is a strong indicator that Intro Physics may be too advanced in math.

    If he did not do Physical Science last year, I would let him keep attending Intro Physics with the co-op and doing the labs, etc. But I would drop back and have him work through Phys Science Ch8 and Ch10, which will help him with the math at his current skill level.
    Cindy Davis
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    Default Re: Pre-Algebra in 9th Grade

    Thank you everyone!! We’re going to get the Physical Science book so we can work through the chapters Cindy mentioned. We’ve also started working on the fractions and he’s doing two calculations a day from Chapter 3 in Physics with me there to support as needed. He’s definitely getting it. It will just take one on one coaching for a long while to help him order his thinking and catch disconnects. I think his grade for the year will come from one test at the end of each semester. That way we can focus on mastery from week to week without the “I’m a failure” syndrome he gets from weekly quizzes. Thank you all again — and Carlyn, thank you for reminding me about Anne’s background!
    Jennifer

    2017-2018
    DS-13 & DS-14 (mix of 6M & 8M)
    DS-11 (5M)
    DS-9 (SC2)
    DD-7 (MP1)
    DD-5 (SC1)
    DD-3 (Preschool)

    2018-2019
    DS-14 & DS-15 (MP9 Literature, Novare Intro to Physics, Light to the Nations I (CTP), MPOA for: Latin, Algebra I, Ref/Con
    DS-12 (6M)
    DS-10 (SC3)
    DD-8 (MP2)
    DD-6 (SC2)
    DD-3 (NT using SCB for gradual intro to JrK)

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