Student Writing Activities for Algebra
- Student writing activities help them build their algebra comprehension.calculator image by Christopher Hall from Fotolia.com
While many teachers only require the writing of numbers in algebra class, integrating standard writing assignments into an algebra class can be an effective way to extend and monitor student understanding. There are an assortment of creative and engaging algebra writing activities from which you can select. These high-interest activities appeal to many students, creating excitement over algebraic principles and providing the opportunity for students who enjoy writing to engage in their favored craft.
- Start out the year with writing by asking students to compose a mathograpy. During the first week of school, ask each student to write a biography that explains the math experiences he has had throughout his life. Encourage students to be detailed in their descriptions, and ask them to provide information about their previous schools and teachers as well as the math courses in which they have previously been enrolled.
Ask students to explain what they like and don't like about math by providing detailed examples. This information can be useful to you as you design the math curriculum; you can spend extra time on topics with which you know your students struggle.
- Provide an opportunity for students to demonstrate their understanding of a mathematical concept through the composition of a letter to a classmate. At the end of your math lesson, ask students to pretend that they were going to explain the day's lesson to a classmate who was absent. Instruct the students to follow standard letter writing format and compose a letter that explains the material learned that day.
Encourage students to re-read their letter after they finish it and gauge how clear the information would be to someone who was not in class that day. This activity allows students to practice their explanatory skills and provides you with a way to monitor student understanding.
- As students explore graphs, ask them to compose graph interpretations. The purpose of creating a graph is to make data more clear to those who see information. To ensure that outsiders can understand the data displayed on graphs, scientists and mathematicians often compose written accompaniments that explain their findings. Ask students to engage in this practice.
Divide students into groups and allow them to collect data on a topic of their choice. Once they have collected their data, instruct students to convert the data into graph form. Then ask each student to look at the graph and decide what the graph shows. Instruct the students to write a paragraph explanation of their findings, incorporating data into their writing to back up their assertions. Display the group's graphs and the explanations on a classroom bulletin board or wall, allowing all students to view the groups' findings and read the explanations.