The Tools of the Trade in a math class are pencils, calculators, computers, rulers, scissors, protractors, and compasses. In Mr. L’s classroom each students is assigned a Tool Number for the year. At the rear of the classroom scissors and rulers are labeled with these numbers and hang on the wall. At the beginning of the class period, students will read the board to find out the agenda for the day; part of the agenda tells them whether they need to pick up one of their tools. If so, they pick it up and proceed to their desks and are ready to begin class in an orderly fashion.
Students are expected to bring a pencil to class each day; I supply “pencil-toppers” if students need an eraser. Work needs to be neat and clean, and pencils provide the ability to erase incorrect work.
Protractors and compasses are needed in the Geometry courses; I give students one week to provide their own and make this part of their formal homework with point assigned. Constructions are an integral part of the Geometry course and students need to have their own tools for success.
Computers are available in the classroom and students will be trained on them. I model what I wish students to do by using an LCD projector, then the class set of ten computers allows students to practice what has been shown. I will share valuable websites, show how to use the computer to make high quality projects, and use mathematical software to further their conceptual progress.
A class set of TI-83+ graphing calculators is provided. Students are encouraged to purchase their own graphing calculator; these can be used all four years of high school and may be used in college as well. Many times students buy a graphing calculator, and when done with it, resell it and receive most of the original money spent – it’s a great mind tool! I will be showing students how to use these calculators effectively, including how to graph, solve equations, and program.