With so much problem-based learning happening this year, I’ve been mixing in plenty of algebra by example-esque problems. They work really well because they get kids to analyze math work on their own and then use it to solve a similar problem.

I’ve been writing some of these problems from scratch (horribly), but DeltaMath has shown up on the scene and helped out in unexpected ways. At the beginning of the year, I originally intended for DeltaMath to be a review of the problems/topics we learned in class. I assign them one big assignment that’s due the day before the next exam and they do it over time as we explore ideas in class.

That’s happening, yes, But what I’ve found is that the kids are also using the DeltaMath to *learn* the new ideas by means of the examples, not just review them. They’re independently leaning on their own analysis of DeltaMath examples to learn rather than on me to hand-hold them through examples in class. Independent learners, yay!!

The result is that someone regularly comes to class saying “…on DeltaMath I learned that…,” when presenting a problem we’re discussing in class – even when its an introductory problem on a topic. And, more often than not, this opens the door for a complete student-led class discussion around the problem.

For example, take this “Factor by Grouping Six Terms” problem that I assigned earlier in the year:

When they click the “Show Example” on the top, a worked-out example appears:

Students can even filter through different types of examples of the same problem by clicking “Next Example.”

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This is a tangential question but the actual problems in the example looked strange to me. How do they connect to the rest of the curriculum? Do you work on finding groupings for quartics or always present the preformed ones. Obviously most of the magic is finding those groupings in the first place.

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Hey. Agreed. Believe it or not, this type of expression appeared on the NYS Regents, and this is why (I think) Delta includes practice on it. That said, we do much more nuanced problems in class to get at what you’re talking about.

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