Hints and Suggestions

Here are a couple of suggestions for getting through IB Math SL successfully:

How to work through these PROBLEM SETS

These Problem Sets have been designed to help you master all the required content for the IB Math SL course. It is not structured like most math courses you have previously taken, and you will see that it requires a different approach on your part.

In each Problem Set, you will be given a number of problems - usually between 7 and 10 - to prepare for the next lesson. They should take 80 - 100 minutes in total (inclusive of class time). You might not always be able to fully solve all problems, but we expect you to attempt as many as you can. In class, you will be expected to present your solutions and discuss solutions that others have shared. Lessons are your principal opportunity to ask for help on material you couldnít do, so be prepared to ask other students how they solved problems or how they knew what approach to take. Discussion should take about 40 minutes in your lessons, and the remainder of the time will be spent looking at further problems from subsequent Problem Sets.

How you take notes is very much up to you, but we will indicate whenever we think there is a topic on which you are likely to want to take notes. If you are unsure what you are supposed to have understood from a question, ask your peers.

Each lesson will involve discussing the problems you have prepared for homework in preparation for the next lesson. Donít try to get ahead, therefore, as it will render the discussion less valuable. If you have spare time and want to do more, it is better to look at old questions and satisfy yourself that you really understand them.

You will have assessments once every 2 Ė 4 weeks, lasting either 40 minutes or 80 minutes. Use the current Problem Sets or the review exercises provided to help you prepare.

Please complete all your solutions in one place, either in an electronic workbook which is shared with your teacher, or in the notebook. Although your work will not be taken in for regular assessment, you should always be ready to show it to your teacher.

Making the Most of this Course

Your learning will happen in two separate ways. First, you will learn by tackling familiar as well as unfamiliar questions. By applying techniques you know to a new scenario, or with slightly more algebraic complication, your understanding will develop incrementally. You will also learn in class, from your classmates, as they explain the solutions they have developed. You might see a new way of solving a problem that you hadnít thought of. Assimilating this technique into your toolkit may help you solve new problems in the future.

Helping yourself in Discussion Centered Student Led Lessons

1. Be patient

  • a. Discussion center student led learning in maths is about developing your knowledge over time. With the right study habits, you will eventually succeed.
  • b. Donít get upset with yourself or others if you donít get things straight away. Instead, think about what you can do to help yourself improve.

2. Be honest.

  • a. If you donít understand something, say so.
  • b. If an explanation isnít helping, ask for greater clarity.
  • c. If you have worked collaboratively, say so, and acknowledge where your partner may be covering gaps in your knowledge.

3. Ask Questions

  • a. If youíre not sure why something is true, how are you sure that it is true? Make sure you can explain every step as you go along.
  • b. If you think you have the right answer but arenít sure whether your solution is correct, ask someone else to try to find holes in it for you.

4. Be prepared

  • a. Make sure you have understood what all the questions are asking before you come to class.
  • b. You might not solve all the problems of the Problem Set but you should at least try them out. Draw a diagram, summarize the given information, to try to relate to a problem you have already solved.
  • c. Assess your own work. If you think you have got a good answer, review it so you know what its strengths and weaknesses are.

5. Catch up

  • a. If you miss a lesson, you still need to tackle the assigned problems.
  • b. If you learn in class how to solve a problem you didnít manage to complete for prep, go back in your own time and re-do it.

6. Be involved

  • a. This learning journey is a team effort. You will make better progress if you join in.
  • b. Your contributions to class are valuable no matter how much you do or donít understand of the question at hand. Be sure to share your ideas.

Helping others in Discussion Centered Student Led Lessons

1. Be patient

  • a. Just because you understand something, doesnít mean everyone else does.
  • b. If you canít explain what you think you understand, you havenít mastered it yet. If people in your group still donít understand you havenít explained it well enough.

2. Be honest

  • a. If someone makes a mistake, point it out kindly.
  • b. If an explanation isnít helping, ask for greater clarity.

3. Ask, donít tell

  • a. People make better deductions when they work something out for themselves.
  • b. See if you can help someone work something out by asking the right questions.

4. Remember your audience

  • a. Thereís no point in explaining something if you leave your audience behind.
  • b. Check that they understand by asking them directly, and by asking questions that test their understanding.

5. Answer the right question

  • a. When someone asks why something works, give them justification.
  • b. When someone asks how you knew to do what you did, explain your thinking.
  • c. Understand that these are different, and try to ask the right question, too.

6. Be courteous

  • a. People are more likely to listen to your ideas if you put them across politely.
  • b. Nobody benefits if you mock someone for making a mistake.
  • c. Nobody likes a know-it-all.