One of the first units in your child's course of study in mathematics
class this year is Thinking with Mathematical Models. In previous mathematics
work, your child has studied some of the basic concepts of algebra.
In this unit, we will be exploring a variety of situations that can
be represented with different mathematical methods, including graphs
Students will conduct several experiments in this unit. One of the experiments
simulates the work of structural engineers: students will test the strength
of bridges made from paper, seeing how the strength changes as the bridges
increase in thickness or in length. They look at different ways to work
with the data they generate: displaying the data in tables, making graphs
from the data, and sometimes writing equations to reflect what is seen
Students will make graphs by plotting points on grid paper and by using
graphing calculators. Graphing calculators enable students to make graphs
more quickly and to explore many types of graphs more efficiently than
is possible by hand.
You might help your child during this unit by observing tables and graphs
in newspapers and magazines, and talking with your child about how they
are used. Here are some other strategies for helping your child work
with the ideas of this unit:
• Talk about situations in which data might be collected to help
represent the situations with mathematical models such as tables or
• Look at your child's mathematics notebook. You may want
to review some of the explanations that have been written for new concepts.
• Encourage your child's efforts in completing all homework
If you have any questions or concerns about this unit or your child's
progress in the class, please feel free to call. I am interested in
your child's success in mathematics.