Academic Feature: Mathematics



Susan Davis teaches eighth grade Math and Math 1 this year. Having 31 years of experience teaching and having served as a district level math curriculum specialist in traditional public schools, Ms. Davis joined the CCA faculty in August. She enjoys inspiring her students to embrace her passion for her favorite math topics that include linear and quadratic functions. She greets students each morning with music playing and has translated her love of music into taking adult tap lessons.

“My goal is to help all students be successful in mathematics.  I hope my love of math filters into my teaching and makes learning more fun for students” ~ Susan Davis

Lunch & Learn

Ms. Davis offers a Lunch & Learn time daily from 11:45 am-12:30 pm during which students of any grade level can come and do homework, ask questions, and have a quieter space to choose to be before returning to class. Students do not have to be in Ms. Davis’ classes to take advantage of the Lunch & Learn time.

Student Perspectives

“It is a useful time, that helps me understand math a lot better” ~ Jude

“I was able to come in during lunch and work on the math I was struggling to figure out. I was able to get one-on-one help with my work which helped me tremendously” ~ Jaclyn

“It is a good time and place where I can get any help that I would need as if I was in class” ~ Palmer

“When I was here for lunch and learn, it was really nice; it was a lot more quiet; it was easier to be one on one with Ms. Davis; and it helped me focus more” ~ Kennedy

Sample of a Math 1 Unit: Exponential Growth

A recent Math 1 project involved both mathematics and science. A hands-on simulation modeled the exponential (steady then extreme increase) growth of cancer cells. Students used M&Ms candy to show how cancer cells divide uncontrollably without end. Each student began with two pieces of candy. Every time they dumped the candy onto a tray and an “M” was facing up, they had to add an additional piece of candy, which represented a cancer cell. 

Math specific elements: The students learned how to make a table with their experimental data with each being unique. They also learned how to write an exponential growth function.   Example: f(x)=a(1+r)^t

Afterwards, they graphed the function and were able to predict future trials.

Student Insights

When Ms. Davis asked her students to share feedback on the project, many of them commented that realizing how quickly cancer cells can grow and spread made a lasting impression.

“I learned that cancer grows exponentially and is a dangerous disease. I enjoyed this project because we got to learn in a hands-on way” ~ Charlotte

“I learned that two cancer cells can quickly get out of control, and it was very enjoyable because I liked trying to get as little M&Ms as possible on each roll” ~ Nadia

“I learned that cancer cells can grow really fast if they duplicate because I always thought It would keep going at the same rate. I did enjoy the project because we were able to eat the M&M’s” ~ Ethan

Eighth Grade Math Summary

Eighth grade math students follow the North Carolina Math Standards. Some of the units included are equations, transformations, angle relationships, linear functions, Pythagorean Theorem, statistics, and volume. In late January  the classes used a Desmos activity, and while learning ‘line of best fit,’ the students attempted to land planes on runways. Students were then able to make their own runway and see if their classmates could land planes on the one they made.  

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