- Computer Science in Algebra PD: Why Computer Science belongs in Algebra #1


One habit is students relying on me when they get stuck on my problem. I stole the idea of “see 3 before me” where they have to talk with 3 peers that are near them or in their group about the question they have. We want students to become better problem solvers but also learn that they can benefit from listening and participating in group discussion.

A second habit is explaining in writing the process used to solve the problems. Students do not like to write. I have begun to incorporate journal writing in class. Students have an essay to complete on each test. The question I get from students is does it count as a bonus question or do I have to answer it.

A difficult concept for students is the properties of quadrilaterals. The concept is taught prior to students coming to me in 7th grade. I use a pre-test to see what they have retained from the previous years. I then use graphic organizers or concept maps to allow students to identify the properties. It helps for students to create the shapes and list the properties while working in groups. They list similarities and differences identified. Students are allowed to create ways for students to learn the properties and are allowed to create posters that are displayed and used for reference in the classroom.


My students have a hard time showing their work. Therefore, when students have questions about their work, I have them go back and show work before answering.
They do not know how to study for tests and quizzes. I’ve explained to them that they need to go back over their notes and redo examples without looking. Also they are to go back over graded work and correct any errors that they have made.

When working with partners they are more concerned about finishing the work (copying) more so than making sure that they understand how they arrived at the answer. Therefore they are required to explain how they got the answer. If they can’t, they lose points.


I don’t teach math separate from a STEM assignment, but I do have trouble with students persevering when they encounter a difficult problem. My solutions are to pair them up with individuals who are stronger in math so they can brainstorm together. I also try to give them hints and targeted questioning to stimulate continued thought.


I find that students who are used to doing well in math get easily frustrated if they are stuck in coding. I try to encourage perseverance and try to give them clues without giving them the answer altogether.