Algebra 2… Outline #MTBoS 30 Post 7


I teach Algebra 2.  At times, it feels so contrived and meaningless.  I wish I could infuse some magical potion that would ignite my students thinking.

Wondering if anyone begins with Probability and Statistics?  Sequences/Series?

It seems we could develop some strength in students numeracy with different types of  probabilities… those unions and intersections of sets.  Would this possibly help when reading reviewing compound inequalities/seep over when teaching systems?

As for stats…just some good old data collection early in the year…to model those common functions, giving students a concrete visual for a connection like Wiggie Growth when we begin exponentials.

And patterns.  Who doesn’t love exploring patterns?  Students can recognize them, describe them, continue them.  Why not begin the year with units that are both fun and challenging?  It seems these end up at the end with no real time to play and enjoy.

Just wondering if anyone’s curriculum begins this way? Or at least outside the traditional one?

10 responses »

  1. Yes, agree that Algebra 2 feels boring at times, I try to infuse their interest by telling them how they will be ready for college algebra when we finish and with our state allowing them to dually enroll in college by junior year it keeps them interested

    • I agree for students who are going to college…but I struggle with those who have no interest in college, dual credits, etc. Even Trig… I can grab some attention with my welders, a few other tie-in’s here and there, but I want it to be not so forced.

  2. We tried starting with probability this year and it was a true flop. Students started the year feeling defeated and dumb and it took us multiple units to unbury them. We think that the months away from math over summer break were the main reason we had issues…they needed to be eased back into mathematical thinking so we are moving probability to the middle of our curriculum now.

    • Thanks for sharing. I thought it would have been a unit that would ease them back in to the math after summer break…maybe not. Seriously thinking about patterns/sequences up front though.

  3. I like the way our algebra 2 year is organized … it’s the study of functions. We start with an overview – and that part is challenging – to demonstrate the why. Then we work through functions, linear (with systems, matrices, linear programming), absolute value, quadratics, square root, exponential, logarithmic, and rationals. Currently we end the year with conics but we are going to change that out to polynomials – with an emphasis on cubic functions. Conics will move completely to pre-cal. What I like is the cohesiveness of the year. We focus on graphs first, attributes of the graphs and how those are used in problem solving. We also focus on transformations. Then we shift to “solving” … practicing with plain problems and then application problems. We introduce each function with one day of data collection – that leads to the study of that particular function. All in all I feel like it’s a well-organized curriculum.
    We don’t teach probability, sequences, series, …

    • I like this idea with the common thread functuons running through and similar outline for each unit. Seems like I pinned a post at some point this year, not sure if it was yours or someone else’s.

      We have state EOCS that include seq, conics and trig all in Algebra 2.

      • It seems a LOT to include conics and trig and sequences with the functions. I don’t know how you could squeeze all of that in!

      • We don’t, well some do…but I can’t…if I allow my students time to process. Less than 50% of my current students have any intention of college. Several …some type of post secondary training/certification, but not college.

  4. We’ve put a lot of work into our Algebra 2 with a similar set of concerns, and we’ve made a little progress. We’ve tried to create units around mathematical themes with Illustrative tasks built-in.
    Our units are currently:
    – Functions & graphs
    – Simple relationships (linear & exponential)
    – Polynomials algebraically (quadratics & polynomials)
    – Polynomials graphically (quadratics & polynomials, round 2)
    – Building functions (rational functions and variation equations)
    – Inverse relationships (radical functions and logarithms)
    – Cyclical functions (trig functions)
    We’ll be adding a unit on either function composition or stats at the end; need to figure that out soon. Regardless, I’d be happy to share the materials and curriculum we’ve created if you’re interested. You can see the site for students at

  5. In Georgia, we call it Advanced Algebra. We start with statistics (called Inferences and Conclusions from Data). It’s the first year I’m teaching it, so we’ll see how it goes…

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