July 23, 2014

Trying to Master Pre-Algebra

I’m sort of evolving my teaching-with-Khan plans as I go.
My loose goal for the school year is to get both kids through the Algebra and Geometry curricula.
I’m not confident, however, that they’re ready to plunge into whatever topics are categorized under Algebra and Geometry. My aim for the balance of the summer is to get them to achieve “Mastery” in the Pre-Algebra topics.
Khan attempts to describe a student’s knowledge of each topic. A topic can be Mastered, Practiced to 2 or 3 different levels, or Unpracticed.
A quick way to advance through these divisions are Khan’s Mastery Challenges, very short quizzes on a variety of topics. Some tuning algorithm seems to refine the questions included in each Mastery Challenge. So the more Mastery Challenges a student attempts, the more relevant the questions become.
This seems as good a place to start as any, so we loaded up the Pre-Algebra curricula and started going through some Mastery Challenges.
The kids were delighted to ace some easy questions, and surprised at a few hard ones (or easy but utterly unfamiliar ones, like the Stem-and-Leaf Plots). They were maybe a little-disappointed to see that they were earning badges with names like Addition, Third Grade. They understand the direction they're going, though, and they can sense that they'll feel some satisfaction when they earn more advanced badges.
After the first week of doing this, it seems like the kids are each getting through one or two Mastery Challenges per day.
If we can maintain the pace, they should have the Pre-Algebra curriculum complete around Labor Day.

No comments: