AMPED on Algebra FAQ

What does AMPED stand for?

Algebra 1 in Materials, Products, Energy, and Design.

How are you different than other programs that manufacture things?

We are an Algebra 1 class paired with a CTE class.  It is our main stream Algebra 1 students that produce the items.

Is the math teacher involved in the manufacturing process?

Yes, the math teacher is in the CTE shop environment alongside the CTE teacher, overseeing the production of items by the students.

Is the CTE teacher involved in the Algebra 1 classroom?

Yes.  The CTE teacher is in the Algebra classroom helping with class management, tutoring kids (if comfortable), and providing the math-manufacturing connections.

How many students are involved, and how long are they in math and in the CTE class?

We currently have about 40-45 students per class.  They are in the math class for 225 minutes a week and they are in the CTE shop for another 225 minutes a week.

How many credits does a student earn over the course of a year in AMPED on Algebra?

Students earn 1 credit of Algebra 1 and 1 credit of elective CTE.

Is this a full Algebra 1 class or is it “watered down”?

We must teach all of the objectives for a Common Core Algebra 1 course.

What does a student’s schedule look like who is enrolled in AMPED on Algebra?

We are in a 45 minute traditional schedule this year (previously on a 90 minute block).  On paper, a student has 45 minutes of Algebra and 45 minutes of CTE everyday.  We block ourselves so that students have 90 minutes of Algebra every other day.  On alternate days, students have 90 minutes of CTE.

How do you meet the highly qualified teacher requirement?

The math teacher is on record as the teacher of math for all students just like the CTE teacher is on record as the teacher of CTE.  Both teachers are in the classroom at all times.

What are some of the projects students work on in the CTE side of class?

Students are involved with t-shirt design and printing initially.  This provides a real business environment for students to learn their algebra.  Students then learn laser engraving, CNC Router, and some basic woodworking.  Second semester has students working with composites, automation and robotics, and alternative forms of energy.

How do you keep all 40 kids working safely in the shop?

Both teachers are in the shop watching/supervising.  Usually, about half the kids are working on a project that the math teacher feels comfortable with while the other half are working on a different project with the CTE teacher.

What math textbook do you use?

Instead of a textbook we use a problem bank that we wrote.  Students do not have a traditional textbook.

What are the safety procedures?

They are the same as in any other CTE course.

Is the algebra rigorous?

This is not a watered down Algebra 1.  It is all of the same objectives as a traditional Algebra 1.  However, the delivery of the lessons is different than in most traditional math classrooms.

Why do you have 2 teachers in a classroom with twice as many kids? Would it not be easier to split classes and have 1 teacher and half as many kids?

Yes, it is probably easier for the master schedule.  However, we have found you give up 50% of the connections that can be made by having a math and a CTE teacher in the same classroom.  It is the connections that make this class exciting for the students.

How do you grade students?

Each teacher (math and CTE) keeps their own grade book.  There are several projects/activities that are graded for both classes.  However, there are several things that are grade specific to Algebra (tests) and several things that are grade specific to CTE (safety).

What are the student pre-requisites?

Students must be Algebra ready, just like a traditional Algebra 1 classroom pre-requisite.  There is no pre-requisite for the CTE course.

How many females are enrolled in AMPED on Algebra?

We find we appeal equally to both the male and female population.

Do I need a shop?

No.  You need a space to set up equipment that you are going to use such as CNC routers, t-shirt heat press, laser engraver, etc.

Can I visit your school to see what you do?

Yes.  Please contact us at   info@contextuallc.com

Can I buy the Algebra 1 problem bank?

We give the problem bank out to all participants of the 4 day training.

If I attend the 4-day training, what do I receive?

You receive a brief introduction to team building, cooperative groups, classroom management techniques, Algebra 1 problem bank, Algebra 1 lesson plans and activities, CTE project ideas, inspiration, and day-by-day instruction on how to make this program work for you.

Do I need additional insurance?

This depends upon you district.  Typical district insurance for a shop environment is adequate.  We recommend that you contact your district’s safety and risk management personnel.

What is the difference between the 2 day and 4 day trainings?

The 2-day training is for teachers to learn how to develop their own contextualized programs in any CTE area (Cosmetology, Consumer and Family Studies, Business, Automotive, etc).  The 4-day training specifically trains administrators and teachers on how to implement AMPED.  You get the curriculum so there is no need to recreate the work.  Instead, the focus is on how to implement into your school.

Does the math teacher need to know manufacturing?

No.  However, they need to be willing to learn.  The math teacher will need to be tutored by the CTE teacher in areas they are uncomfortable with.   Comfort level comes with time.

Does the CTE teacher need to know Algebra?

No.  However, they need to be willing to learn.   Comfort level in math depends on the CTE teacher and will come with time.

Why do you need to come as a pair to trainings?

We believe the strength of the contextualization comes from both teachers being present in the classroom and being a team in front of the students.  Some teachers do attend as a single but they are at a disadvantage.

How does the cost of this training compare to books or other trainings?

Since AMPED has its own problem bank, students do not need a textbook.  If students need help, they reference internet sites such as Kahn Academy.  With textbooks costing $80 each, the textbook savings alone can pay for the training.  Currently there is no yearly fee like some other programs.  Once a teacher is trained, he/she can teach the course where ever they are employed.

How do you encourage teachers to team up for the training and teaching of the class?

1)  Teachers that have attended were wanting to change their teaching methods.  They realize that not all students can learn the traditional way.

2)  Offering college credit to teachers for attending.  Typically, 2 credits can be earned.

3)  Provide opportunities for the pair of teachers to be together, such as a planning day, attending a conference, or eating pizza over lunch with an administrator.  Some of the best planning, bonding, and brain storming times occur in a car or at a conference.

4)  Get a teacher that has been successful in this type of program in front of other teachers to explain the benefits.  Teachers are wanting to be part of something successful and need to see role models.

What are some of the characteristics of the teachers that teach AMPED on Algebra?

1)  Teachers need to understand that a program like this requires extra time for the initial year of implementation.

2)  Teachers must be willing to change their teaching styles if needed.

3)  We have found that age or experience in the classroom does not predict success.

4)  Both teachers must respect each other’s class and the need for it.  Both teachers must be equal in their commitment to the program.

5)  Both teachers must like kids and must be enthusiastic.

6)  Teachers must be of the mind set that when they teach they are always evaluating themselves to see how they can improve the lesson the next time.

7)  The teachers must view their classroom as a business and be comfortable in producing a product that is to be sold.

8)  Realize that the right pair of teachers will need support from the building administration or from the CTE director.  They need to feel as if the team is more than just the two of them.  The pair of teachers need someone to work alongside of them to remove potential road blocks at the building and district level.

Do the teachers need any special skills?

The teachers will need to be willing to learn software packages such as spreadsheets and design (Corel Draw or Adobe Illustrator).   Teachers will need to learn the equipment that will be available to them in the shop.

Do we have to do a t-shirt print shop?

No.  However, we wanted students to be involved in a real business for 2 reasons.  First, a real business vs a simulation is more exciting to students.  Second, we needed to generate some income to be self supporting.  We can not approach our district year after year for additional funds.

Do we have to have all of same equipment as you do or can we modify for our school?

No.  What is important is that students are producing things of interest to them.  Ideas for alternative projects will be discussed during trainings.

Where are the trainings located?

See the website  www.contextuallc.com for locations.  You can call us for details at (970) 219-5020.  In addition, you can host a training in your area.  Call us for details.

How do I register for a training?

Call (970)744-1048 to register or email us at info@contextuallc.com

Where can I find out more information?

Please call us at (970) 219-5020 or email info@contextuallc.com

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