For the second half of the 2018-2019 school year, a new algebra curriculum is being piloted at Rock Creek.
The new Big Ideas math curriculum was introduced to students on Jan. 3, according to Algebra II teacher Ashley Wege.
“We are currently piloting two different math resources to see which one we like better and will adopt it for the 2019-2020 school year,” Wege said.
The Big Ideas curriculum includes multiple resources for students.
“There is a student journal that is a printed book for students to take notes in,” Wege said. “Also, there are multiple interactive resources available online, including a live tutor.”
Big Ideas is different from the previous curriculum in a few ways.
“The previous curriculum was very interactive and exploratory, and this one is a little less so,” Wege said.
Junior Kayla Malbrough said that she was excited to be using a new curriculum.
“It is something different, and I thought maybe we would learn better with a textbook,” Malbrough said.
Sophomore Lauren Gill was also looking forward to using Big Ideas this semester.
“I was excited because I thought the homework might be easier,” Gill said.
For both Gill and Malbrough, the biggest difference between last semester and this semester is the increased amount of homework assigned.
“We get so much more homework,” Gill said. “We used to have like six questions, and now we have around 40.”
Malbrough also prefers the previous curriculum when it comes to homework.
“I liked the old curriculum because it had shorter homework, with only a few world problems, rather than the book, which has more problems,” Malbrough said.
Using Big Ideas has not changed how class time is organized, though.
“Class time has not changed at all,” Malbrough said. “We still have the same amount of time to go over the last lesson and learn the next one.”
Students were not only given a textbook, but a student journal as well.
“We do not take notes the same,” Gill said. “We take notes strictly from the student journal.”
Both Gill and Malbrough prefer to take their own notes and dislike the student journal.
“I do not feel like they really help, and personally, I like to take my own notes in a notebook,” Malbrough said. “The student journal is just extra weight in my backpack.”
Gill said that she feels the same about the student journal.
“I think they are almost pointless,” Gill said. “I feel like we get a whole bunch of unnecessary information.”
Malbrough prefers the previous curriculum, mostly because of the homework.
“It was less homework, but we still got the general idea of things,” Malbrough said. “I could finish my math homework in 30 minutes, instead of an hour to and hour and a half.”
Gill does not have a strong preference on the previous curriculum compared to Big Ideas.
“I don’t really care; it is what it is,” Gill said.
According this Wege, students are adapting to the change well.
“The students are doing a great job at handling a change in resources during the year,” Wege said.
There will be a meeting later in the semester to decide which curriculum that is being piloted to adopt for the 2019-2020 school year.
Article and photo by Danae Adams, Staff Member