My Intermediate Algebra kids are preparing to start their work on their semester project. In preparation, the kids are working on a sample project before we throw them into the real project. The sample has them collect two sets of data, plot the data, find the two lines of best fit, and then answer various questions based on their data collection and linear models.
One of the questions asks the students to find–algebraically–where the two lines intersect. Another question asks them to simply graph the two lines on the same coordinate plane. We graphed the lines on Desmos yesterday. I had the kids highlight the intersection point and then print out their graphs. Today, we solved the system algebraically. I told them their answer should match the coordinates Desmos gave them.
One kid’s eyes lit up. “Ohhhhh…I see now!” He nodded his approval and flashed that ear-to-ear smile.
I was so happy. This kid hasn’t passed the Algebra I state test he needs in order to graduate. If he does well on the actual project, he will be one step closer to graduation as the project will fulfill that testing requirement. Obviously, I hope he passes the project. But, I also hope that my kids are learning some mathematics through all of this. And small comments like his makes me think they are.
I’m thankful for student insights–big and small; I’m thankful that we have a way to get our kids graduation-ready even if they’re not great test-takers; and I’m thankful for administrators and colleagues who make these high-stakes circumstances a little less stressful.