The Hook

You may remember Ms. Barney from her lesson on ratios (in Module 1). This time we'll be following her second period Pre-Algebra class at Yorba Middle School in the Orange Unified School District as they learn about rates.

Ms. Barney's Biosketch: Helen began her professional life as a CPA, earning her degree in Accounting from Seton Hall and working in management positions for twenty years. She then decided to switch gears and use these management skills in a middle-school classroom. She earned her Multiple Subject Teaching Credential from California State University Long Beach, and was issued her Supplemental Math Credential by the State of California Teacher Credentialing.

Helen now teaches in Orange, California, at Yorba Middle School. She has coached girls sports teams including softball, soccer and basketball for grades 2 through high school.

Classroom Setting: The class includes 34 7th grade students, 15 male and 19 female. There are 4 Asian, 14 white, and 16 Hispanic students in the class, including 10 English Learners.

School Setting: Yorba Middle School, in the Orange Unified School District, participates in a national grant program, TaselM, that supports improved math learning in Title 1 middle and high schools.

Lesson Plan Summary: Ms. Barney engages students in a problem-solving lesson involving distance, rate, and time by using that ancient and beloved tale of the Monkey and the Penguin. What? You've never heard the heart-wrenching story pitting mammal against bird in a race against time? Okay. She made it up. But it sure makes manipulating the equation D = RT a lot more interesting.

Monkeys Versus Penguins: Who will win the race?

In our everyday lives, distance is often described in terms of the time it takes to get somewhere, rather than the actual distance. For example, a friend might live ?10 minutes? away, or ?5 miles away?. The generic term ?rate? is rarely used when describing travel. The initial challenge for teachers is to get students to understand how distance, time, speed and rate are connected.


Classroom Clip Reflection:

  1. Does she get her students to think about the wording used when describing distance and rate? If yes, how?