ACT Math—the challenge of depth and breadth

We discovered while we made our ACT Online Course that Math is a particularly interesting topic to try to teach online. By interesting, I mean complicated, challenging, fun, fraught… and that list could go on and on.

Why? How we understand math varies from person to person. For some, like myself, learning the classroom terminology and using that to understand the logical structure underneath—the reason to use math in the first place—is most effective. For others, knowing the vocabulary is a hindrance to understanding why we use math—it just gets in the way of a clear understanding. For still others, the rigorous classroom version is the only way to understand math. Students in this group crave a structured understanding of math and do not care whether they understand the abstract concept that underlies that knowledge.

So you can see that we have our work cut out for us.

I’m a big believer (on the ACT) (and elsewhere too, I guess) of finding ways to work both quickly and accurately. That’s the sweet spot for success on this test. That was my guiding principle when making this math course. Will this solution make sense to every student? Will it allow them to solve the question quickly, and at a high degree of accuracy?

That led me to include some elements like calculator programs, suggestions for how to check your answers, and strategies like Plugging In. These methods will work for every student, and will empower them to solve the ACT the best way possible—quickly and accurately.

While the task of imparting 10 years’ worth of math curriculum to students with utterly divergent learning styles was a challenge, I think we responded to it. I hope you agree!

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