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What can I add to Algebra to make it fun?

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Well, maybe not 'fun', but at least make it fuller, richer, more interesting. We will be doing Saxon Algebra 2. It can get annoying to just do the same thing every day. How can I spice it up without losing the spiral structure? I know my dd needs to have the repetition of the concepts within a 24 hour period for it to stick better so I don't want to undermine that, but she needs something else to liven it up some.


I am asking this from a 'teacher' that will be learning Algebra 2 right along with her dd. I have Art Reed's CDs so I'm hoping that will help us some.


Are there any math teachers out there that can give me some practical, easy to do fun stuff to mix in with our lessons. I would need detailed descriptions of what to do. Is there a good book for this?


Thanks for any help! :)

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Okay, (I recently read this in another post), I might have my dd make a timeline of mathematical people or events. I'm thinking there has to be a few in the timeline figures I already have. I seem to also remember a book called Family Math. They have a more advanced one; I'm off to look for that.


I know there are math gurus on this board. What do YOU do to spice up Algebra? :)

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Algebra 2 on its own will keep you both busy! :) Instead of trying to make it fun, you may want to schedule something fun to do when she's done with the lesson for the day. My dd actually liked algebra 2 better than algebra 1, and other students have said the same.


I must admit though that I'm curious to see what anyone has to share on how to add fun to algebra 2. :)

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The game Equate has an add on pack for advanced math which "includes integers, exponents, fractions, the four basic operations, and equal symbols." I haven't used the advanced pack, but I can attest that the original game will truly make you think!


I've not yet managed to get my hands on a copy, but I've also heard good things about Murderous Maths. The Phantom X covers Algebra and The Fiendish Angletron covers Trigonometry. You can see the entire list and details here.




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I think much depends on the nature of your student. If you have a student that loves to read, then I'd suggest you add some mathematical reading to her list for this year. One very readable book is The Lady Tasting Tea and then another that I think every high schooler should read is Flatland (which also has a cartoon movie version and great teacher tools at the Flatland website).


I have several texts I use to spice up traditional math. We use logic problems to think "out of the box" (not extra LOGIC, but fun types of problems--grin!). We also use math history stories...Agnesi to Zeno is a good one as is Men of Mathematics by Bell.


Don't forget some probability and statistics as a great break from traditional algebra. Or measurement--my students are often still grappling with measurement concepts, and can't keep straight which is bigger: 3K or 1 mile? So working on relationships and conversions gives them a respite from the abstract nature of algebra.


Any pattern game--Mastermind was one of our kids' favorites. And OMSH posted about a great game on Ree's blog this week...I think the larger version of that game would be a hoot to play as a family.


For Algebra II, there are so many great software packages out there that she can learn to use. Tinkerplots or Geometer's Sketchpad would be a great way to bring technology into the curriculum.





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Oh, and I forgot that Danica McKellar's new book Hot X: Algebra Exposed was just released...it's as good as the others. More Algebra I related, but great for giving some new paradigms to consider with integers and linear equations.



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Thank you all for the replies! I have a few things to check into now. I might even have something hiding on my shelves! ;) And if my dd ends up loving (or at least liking) Algebra 2, I will be quite amazed and elated. I'll let you know how it goes! :)


Edit: BTW, Lori, our library has The Lady Tasting Tea and Men of Mathematics (a 1937 copy) so those are now on order for me, along with some others I found. Thanks for those suggestions. :)

Edited by LatinTea
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