For students: The Important Files (documents and power points) are located at the bottom of the page.
Overview of 8th Grade Algebra
GOALS: There are several major goals for students in Algebra: 1. to identify and define a function, 2. to graph and solve functions, 3. to perform operations with polynomials and factor them, 4. to apply the skills learned to real world problems, and 5. to use technology to assist us in solving and representing mathematical concepts.
INTRO TO FUNCTIONS: Students begin the year introducing the concept of functions. We define functions and relations and learn various ways to represent relations-- equations, graphs, tables, and mapping diagrams. From those representations, we identify what relations are and are not functions.
LINEAR FUNCTIONS: The first family of functions we study is linear functions. We investigate the various general equations to represent these functions such as slope-intercept form, standard form, direct variation form, and point-slope form. We learn how to graph these functions in these different forms and convert from one form to another. We practice writing equations to represent real world situations, graph data, and interpret what these graphs of these functions mean. We use both Microsoft Excel and graphing calculators to apply skills we learn in this unit. We culminate this unit with a chapter project in which students collect data from an experiment they design.
LINEAR SYSTEMS: We extend our investigation of linear functions by studying linear systems. We learn what a solution of a linear system means and study various methods of how to solve a linear system. Students write a persuasive essay of which method they feel is the best way to solve a linear system.
INEQUALITIES: Students review the basic concept of inequalities and analyze what their solutions mean graphically. They learn about a new type of inequality--an absolute value inequality. They also learn how to graph inequalities on the coordinate plane.
POLYNOMIALS: We shift from functions and graphing to defining polynomials. We first learn how to perform operations with polynomials and then we learn various methods of factoring polynomials. We will analyze various polynomials and determine which method is necessary to factor them.
QUADRATIC FUNCTIONS & EXPONENTIAL FUNCTIONS: We finally move on to new families of functions other than linear! We examine the famililes of quadratic and exponential functions and learn their equations and graphic patterns. We also learn how to solve quadratic and exponential equations using a variety of methods. All of these skills are applied to word problems involving quadratic functions.
TECHNOLOGY: Graphing calculators will be used throughout the year to enhance our study of functions. Microsoft Excel will also be used to show another method of graphing data.
END OF THE YEAR EXAM: Students will take an Algebra Acuity Test at the end of the year for the Archdiocese. Neither I nor the Archdiocese make the exam. It is made through a computer program that the Archdiocese hired. What we learn throughout the year will prepare the students for the exam. Certain high schools within the Archdiocese ask for the exam scores to determine math placement. However, public schools and other private schools do not typically ask to see these scores. We will most likely not cover every single concept on the exam but that is typical. I give more information as the exam approaches toward the end of May.
SETUP: There is a focus on vocabulary. Students must keep up with the key terms in the vocabulary section of their notebooks. There are several quizzes throughout a chapter. Quizzes involve vocabulary and word problems. There is a major test at the end of a chapter. There are some projects and/or writing assignments throughout the year.