Welcome to 8th grade math!

Math- Systems of Equations Vacation Project & Dear Data

Systems of Equations- Vacation Project

This week in math we are wrapping up our unit on systems of equations, or finding out when two lines intersect. How is this useful in everyday life, you might ask? We actually use systems of equations ALL THE TIME to compare costs and prices of various things, for example cell phone pricing, rates of services, etc. Students are wrapping up the unit by doing a Vacation Project where they compare two trips to destinations they choose, factoring out the total cost of round trip airfare and hotel costs per night. They are exploring how many nights they plan to stay on their vacation and when the two trips will cost the same, using a visual graph, an equation and a written summary of their findings. Once they determine the pricing options for various nights, they choose which trip they prefer to go on and for how many nights and write their reasoning for their decision. This project is solidifying their understanding of solving equations and uses the (SOE) methods they’ve been learning in math recently.

Here are some student examples:

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Dear Data

Students also completed their Round 5 Dear Data cards last week. Category topics were: worries, greetings/farewells, and questions! They continue to do such a good job of using their artistic expression and data visualization skills to create beautiful and complex cards.  Here are some examples:


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Investigating Parabolas

This week in math we are continuing our Quadratics Unit by investigating parabolas. Students are learning all the features of a parabola through investigations and making connections to what they learned about linear equations (x and y-intercepts). We started this investigation by seeing where parabolas show up in real life.  Students made the observations that they often appear in architecture and things that fall (gravity). Now we are making connections between factoring and graphing! Here’s their recent poster assignment: Investigating-parabolas-2 (1). Also, here’s a video of a student making the connection between catapults and parabolas.



High School Math Placement- What To Do?

Hello Parents! We received lots of questions during LTM’s about how students will be placed in classes in high school, especially in math. Each high school has a different process for math placement. Some have placement tests, others use teacher recommendations. Some schools require letters from teachers, others simply require teacher signatures on registration forms. Students are currently finishing Algebra 1. Depending on the student and what school she is attending, she might retake Algebra 1, OR move into the next course after Algebra 1, either Geometry or Algebra 2, depending on the math progression at her high school.

As you and your student register for classes this spring, inquire about what you need to place into your preferred classes. Some parents like to think about balancing classes or honors classes with out of school activities. Others think about how their student might adjust to a higher work load and what might be the best course load. If you are unsure, feel free to email the SGS 8th grade teacher directly (who needs to give you the recommendation) or have students bring in their registration guide and course descriptions and advisors can help navigate. We are happy to go over this with your student and make recommendations. Every student is different and we will support you and your family through this process!

*Helpful side note: each SGS student gets a letter verifying that they’ve met WA state history credit as part of their transcript.

SOE Math Test & Cryptography

We wrapped up our systems of equations unit and you will see math tests coming home next week. Students were able to create a one-pager of notes for use with this test and you will see that attached to their test. This is a great study skill to practice for high school by summarizing the main strategies they learned in a unit and creating examples. They will also be working on test corrections for any problems that they missed to they can learn from their mistakes. When tests come home next week, please sign them and add comments. Tests will include a note from the student to you about how they prepared, how they felt they did, and if this test represented what they know.

We also introduced Cryptography (code breaking) in Mission math this week. We discussed the benefits of encryption technology for digital use and the history of code breaking. Students had many interesting stories to share about war messages and misleading enemies! Students learned how to use various code-breaking strategies, a Caesar cipher shift (using their wheels), an algebra cipher (using Algebra!), and a few more fun ones. They really seemed to enjoy this and were creating their own encoded messages by the end of the week! They will be quizzed on their ability to decipher codes on Friday.


Cell Phone Problem-System of Equations

This week in math we are exploring a topic called “system of equations.” What does solving a “system of equations” mean in real world language? It is looking at two scenarios (or linear equations) and figuring out when they meet. Our project this week was comparing cell phone plans. As you may know from the experience of navigating your wireless carrier’s offerings, cell phone plans are complicated. You have to factor in the cost of a new phone (or lease) and then add per month charges for talking, data and taxes. I put the students to work, figuring out how much a phone cost up front and then how much it cost per month for various data plans. They had to project out 12, 24 and 36 months to figure out which plan was the best long term deal. It was fascinating (and a bit hilarious) to hear them discuss their framework around what they value (coverage, data, type of phone, etc.). Here’s a sample of the project: skmbt_c552d16111717220