Understanding High School Math from Jeff Owens

Happy New year!  I thought since we have had such a turnover in students the last couple of months, I would post about our approach to mathematics education at MLA.  My hope is that this information will help you understand how we are helping your student on their pathway through mathematics in high school.  MLA adopted the Integrated Mathematics approach over the more traditional approach of the past.

What is Integrated Math?

Many, if not most of us were taught math in High School through the traditional approach, by splitting up different disciplines of mathematics into different classes, such as Algebra 1, Geometry, Algebra 2, Statistics, Calculus, and so on. In the traditional approach, students for example would take a Geometry class, focus for one year on that subject never to truly use it again until it was time to study for the ACT or SAT.  

In an Integrated mathematics approach, many topics or disciplines of mathematics are studied each year.  Each math course our students take covers algebra, geometry, trigonometry, statistics, probability, and more.  Lesson topics, concepts, and dependencies build on each other and get more advanced year after year.

Is integrated math a better system?

According to this article by Madeline Will for EdWeek.org, students who have an integrated math curriculum have been proven in studies to outperform students who followed a traditional math curriculum.  This same article also stated: “Many countries—including those whose students outperform the United States in international assessments—use an integrated-mathematics sequence at the secondary level. And many American teachers and administrators who have transitioned to a combined-math pathway say they have seen benefits.”  Since the article’s publication in 2014, many of the questions and concerns expressed have been addressed.  It is a little outdated, but the info is accurate and informative.

How does it work?

Study the provided graphic to compare what classes students might take in each mathematics pathway. 

Hope this helps,

Jeff Owens

Humanitarian Class Project

It has been such a fun semester in our Humanitarian Class. We have 2 classes – a Monday class and a Wednesday class. The students are divided into 2 groups and each group meets one of these days. When we first started, we sat down and made a list of the projects we would like to accomplish this year. The ideas came totally from the students. Some of the most popular ideas were to make school kits, tie blankets/quilts and loom hats. So, this semester, we have been looming winter hats. We will deliver the hats to Lifting Hands International, the organization we work with, to share with refugees and others in need around the world. So far, we have completed/nearly completed 15 winter hats and 3 winter scarfs.

Each day when students come into class, they are handed a loom and they start working. Some have needed to be taught how to loom. Others knew a bit and needed a refresher. We work on these projects as a team. So, no one hat is “my hat” or “I made this hat”, but they are all “our” hats. We are a team making things to serve those who have needs we can help fill. The students are loving this experience. We socialize, listen to soft music and work in a fun, peaceful atmosphere where we are able to create for good.

Next semester, we want to work on blankets/quilts and school kits. To complete these projects we will be asking for donations. After the first of the year, I will be sending an email to the parents of students at the Girls School. It will contain a list of suggested materials to make school kits and blankets given to us by Lifting Hands International. Please watch for our email and consider any items you could possible donate to help us reach our goals.

Thank you so very much. It is a delight to work with your students.

Q&A With TA Regan Whimpey

We took a moment to sit down with our Teacher’s Aid to ask him a few questions about his duties. We felt this would be a useful exercise for your viewing pleasure.

Q: “What is the first thing that you do when you get to MLA at the start of your shift?”

A: “Well, the first thing that I do BEFORE I get to work is get my Diet Dr. Pepper. My day cannot start until I have done that! Once I get to work, I like to plan my day and then I check missing assignments to see who is struggling in school, to see who I need to work with.”

Q: “What would you consider your most important job duty?”

A: “I would say the most important aspect of my job is making sure each student keeps up in school, and that I am there when they need me.”

Q: “What is your number one goal when working one on one with a student?”

A: “It is different with each student. I work with some students more than others, but it usually has something to do with making sure that each student understands the material we work on, rather than just making sure they finish an assignment.”

Q: “What does working one on one with a student look like?”

A: “Usually the student is maybe one or two assignments behind in school. I will work with students who aren’t behind, but my main focus is making sure all students are caught up in school. I will sit down with the student and go over missing assignments. Then we will look at those assignments and see how much the student has finished. We’ll pick an assignment to work on and I will assist the student as they have need until the assignment is complete. We then turn the assignment in to the teacher and start working on the next assignment, until we are finished.”

Q: What is your favorite thing to do off campus?

A: “Spending time with my wife and my 14 year old son. Also, I love sports and I play simulation sports online.”

Q: “What do you do when you are not working with students one on one?”

A: “Really anything that the department needs. I am in charge of checking student computers in and out. I keep inventory and do the shopping when needed. I sub for teachers when they need a substitute teacher. I test students when they arrive, when they leave, and each year in between as well, among many other things.”

Q: “What are your long term goals?”

A: “I aspire to be a teacher. I am working on getting my teaching license. These students are helping me get the experience needed to become the best teacher I can be.”

Q: “Any other thoughts or other insights?”

A: “My motto is ‘no child left behind’. We have a great stewardship here at MLA. My ultimate goal is to make sure that your child is the best they can be academically. I love working here with these kids. They deserve my best and I attempt to give them my best every day.”

Parent Teacher Conferences Are Coming Oct. 23rd, 2020.

It’s that time again!!

Mark the date on your calendars! On October 23rd. we will be zooming our Parent Teacher Conferences. This time around, the girls parents will be meeting with Vicki & McKay, while the boys parents will be meeting with Jeff & Seth. Each meeting will be 20 minutes in length. Timeslots will be filled in a first come, first serve manner. To register for a time for the girls school, click here. To register for a time with the boys school, click here. We hope to see you there!

A Call to Help Others

Something new and exciting is happening at the girls school this year. A new class called Humanitarian Processes was instigated by the warming hearts of our students. The class is facilitated by our Social Studies teacher and promises to be a highlight of the year. The course is described as students participating in planning, gathering materials, creating and distributing Humanitarian supplies. It helps students to understand human relationships, career and workforce preparation, decision-making and communication skills, self-awareness and individual responsibility.

Vicki, the teacher states, “We continue to work with Lifting Hands International, a local organization that services refugees around the world in countries such as Greece, Jordan, the U.S. Southern borders and other places. The girls are happy and enjoying it.” Presently, the students are looming hats and scarfs for winter and would love any and all donations of yarn.

Vicki continues by saying, “This is truly a team effort as I have different girls in different classes and none of the projects are ‘mine’ meaning they all work on whatever loom is available that day. I am so grateful to be part of this with them,”

A letter will be forthcoming to request donations that will help carry the work forward. The girls truly get excited to create and give. As we evaluate the success of this program, we look to the future to include the boys campus as well.

A Snake Came to Visit

In July our science teacher McKay brought in his Ball Python Orion. He showed Orion to all of the kids who stayed at Maple Lake Academy during the week some students went on pass. McKay was able to use his knowledge about snakes and reptiles to show why their conservation is important. He was also able to use Orion as an ambassador for all snakes. Orion was an example that most snakes are not out to harm anyone, despite some negative stereotypes. McKay was also able to teach students how to properly identify venomous snakes common in the United States. The students expressed interest in Orion and in helping to preserve snakes everywhere.

Ready for the 2020-2021 School Year to Begin!

Tiberius, this beautiful Fresia is ready for school! The first day of the 2020-2021 school year begins Monday August 10th. Our first week of school will be unprecedented as some students will be video conferencing while others will be in the traditional classroom. The teachers are ready and prepared for this adventure.

New classes at MLA this year are Keyboarding and Content Reading. We will also return to a favorite, Zoology as well as a non-credited Math Lab where students can get extra assistance. Equine Science will look slightly different this year too. For safety reasons, part of our students will be taking Equine Science during terms one and two while the other students are in Keyboarding and Math Lab. At the beginning of Term 3, it will switch up and those who did not have Equine Science on their schedule will then be able to hang out with this amazing Fresia and have Equine Science for terms three and four. This will allow those students who took Equine Science in terms one and two to take Keyboarding and have use of the Math Lab.

This SHOUT OUT, goes to all of you parents who have supported the Parent-Teacher conferences this past year. We appreciate your patience and kindness during these pandemic times. Remember you do not need to wait for a parent-teacher conference to talk to us.

Please note the school calendar on this blog and contact the Education Department with any questions you may have. 🙂

Jolyn Mitchell, Academic Program Manager

jolyn@maplelakeacademy.com

Boys Rocket Project

We just wanted to give you a little more background on our rocket project. We decided from the beginning that we would build our rockets completely from scratch, meaning we would not purchase anything in kit form or any components that were designed for model rockets.  The only purchased components were the motors. We would have made our own motors, but Homeland Security frown on that sort of activity! We made our own air frame tubes using regular printer paper saturated with a mixture of wood glue and water, and rolled around a dowel of the correct diameter and let them dry over night.  We next created engine mount blocks to hold the motor in the air frame tube with a similar procedure and glued them into the air frame.  Next, we made fins from very light thin wood and glued them onto the air frame.  Students used geometry principles along with their knowledge of circles to attach the fins perpendicular to the circumference of the tube while also being parallel with the axis of the tube.  Next we built recovery systems from elastics, dental floss, and trash bags.  Students made either parachutes or streamers to control rocket decent.  We then made our own flame retardant recovery wadding from baking soda, water, and paper towels.  We then attached launch lugs made from soda straws and nose cones made from light weight wood.  The rockets were then painted and made flight ready.

Lauch setup.

On the designated launch day, we gathered at the launch site (sports court) and prepped the rockets with “B” powered motors for the first flights.  All the rockets were launched and all but 1 was recovered, it having landed on the roof of the house.  Altitude estimates were in excess of 1500 feet. The rockets were examined and all were in good condition for a second flight.  Again, we prepped the rockets for flight, this time with “C” motors (twice as powerful as “B” motors), and launched them for a second flight.  Unfortunately, several were not recovered, coming down in the wheat field next door and one probably landed in Tooele.  The height estimates at this time were in excess of 2500 feet.  

Much was learned and the students did a remarkable job learning about the math, physics, and chemistry involved in rocketry.  The construction was really well done and top quality.  Perhaps most importantly, they were really good citizens and helped each other out building, flying, and recovering the rockets. A great time was had by all.

Parent Teacher Conferences

It is that time again! We will be holding Parent Teacher Conferences From 9 AM to 5 PM on Friday, July 31st. Our teachers have been preparing for this day, and are ready to meet with you! We know that many of you will have your student with you on this day. We feel this will be the perfect time for us to all meet together. Please come with questions for your 20 minute meeting with the teachers. The sign up links for each school are below. They have also been emailed to you. If you have any questions, email Regan at regan.whimpey@gmail.com.

For the Girls Signup, Click Here

For the Boys Signup, Click Here

We are excited to see you all!!