Cross Posted from Epsilon-Delta.

Anyway…somehow I managed to totally suck at explaining intercepts this year in Algebra II. Even after an entire semester with these kids, when I say, “What’s the y-coordinate of an x-intercept?” all I get is *chirp, chirp, chirp.*

I wrote up this literacy strategy, that I was quite proud of. I felt like they finally understood the algebraic definition of an x-intercept, and not just the geometric definition (i.e., I want more out of them than just “An x-intercept is where the graph crosses the x-axis.”). But…the next week I felt like we were back to square one.

Help! How can I help them understand and generalize the concept of an intercept? I especially want them to *understand *how factors and zeros are related. What have you tried that you have had success with? Class composition is juniors and seniors.

I like that document. Are you saying the activity went well that day and didn’t stick? If that’s the case, perhaps it’s too scaffolded so it falls into “The right thing, said once” issue (http://kellyoshea.wordpress.com/2012/12/31/the-right-thing-said-once/). You could try taking out some of the structure and provide it in the form of questioning or hints available throughout the room. If they have to struggle a bit more it just might stick better. If all else fails, stare at them until they take out their notes and look it up!