Algebra I

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Course Summary

What is Algebra 1 all about?

Algebra 1 formalizes and extends students’ understanding and application of functions. Students primarily explore linear functions (as well as linear piecewise, absolute value, and step functions), quadratic functions, and exponential functions. Within these parent functions, students develop a deep understanding of the features of each function—graphically and algebraically—and use these to guide creation of models and analysis of situations.

How did we order the units?

In Unit 1, Functions, Graphs, and Features, students are introduced to all of the main features of functions they will learn throughout the year through basic graphical modeling of contextual situations. Students will learn function notation and use this to analyze and express features of functions represented in graphs and contextually. Students will use the tools of domain and range, rates of change, intercepts, and where a function is changing to describe contextual situations.

In Unit 2, Statistics, students continue to analyze contextual situations, but in this unit, they focus on single-variable data and then bivariate data. This is the first unit where students are introduced to the concept of using data to make predictions and judgments about a situation. Univariate data is described through shape, center, and spread by using mathematical calculations to support their reasoning. Students begin to make judgments about whether data is consistent (analysis of spread) and whether mean or median is a better representation of a situation (center). Bivariate data is analyzed for whether the variables are related (correlation) and whether a linear model is the best function to fit a set of data (analysis of residuals); students also develop a linear model that can be used to predict future events. In Unit 2, students are introduced to the modeling cycle and complete a project on univariate data analysis and another on bivariate data analysis.

In Unit 3, Single-Variable Equations and Inequalities, students become proficient at manipulating and solving single-variable linear equations and inequalities, as well as using linear expressions to model contextual situations. Domain and range are introduced again through the lens of a “constraint” with inequalities. The understanding students develop in this unit builds the foundation for Unit 4, Unit 5, and Unit 6, as well as provides an algebraic outlet for modeling contextual situations started in Unit 1 and continued in Unit 2.

In Unit 4, Linear Equations, Inequalities, and Systems, students become proficient at manipulating, identifying features, graphing, and modeling with two-variable linear equations and inequalities. Students are introduced to inverse functions and formalize their understanding on linear systems of equations and inequalities to model and analyze contextual situations. Proficiency of algebraic manipulation and solving, graphing skills, and identification of features of functions are essential groundwork to build future concepts studied in Units 5, 6, 7, and 8.

In Unit 5, Piecewise Functions and Transformations, students revisit work in Units 1, 3, and 4 to formalize their understanding of domain and range to model linear piecewise functions. The algebraic work done in Units 3 and 4 build to working with absolute value functions. Students are introduced to the concept of a function transformation—a key concept in identifying functions that model situations but are shifted, reflected, or dilated to represent the characteristics of the particular situation. Absolute value functions are used to bridge piecewise functions and provide a low-entry parent function to understand how different function transformations are represented algebraically and how domain and range are affected by transformations.

In Unit 6, Exponents and Exponential Functions, students review exponent rules studied in middle school and extend their understanding to include rational exponents. In this unit, students will be operating with polynomials as an extension of work done in Unit 3 with expressions, and utilizing exponent rules reviewed in this unit. Students formalize the conceptual understanding of the power of exponents to increase or decrease values at increasing or decreasing rates, respectively, to model with exponential functions. Students use the understanding about linear functions developed in Units 2, 3, 4, and 5 to make comparisons to exponential situations in terms of algebraic modeling, use of the function in contextual situations, and graphical analysis. The understanding from this unit carries through to quadratics as well as into Algebra 2 with exponential modeling and logarithms.

In Unit 7, Quadratic Functions and Solutions, students begin a deep study of quadratic functions—a key function for students to master in Algebra 1. Students pull together their understanding of graphical analysis from Unit 1, algebraic manipulation from Unit 3, and linear equations and inequalities from Unit 4 to develop an understanding of what a solution means in context, graphically, and algebraically within quadratics. The concepts learned in this unit will be directly applied in the next unit and throughout Algebra 2, where students will be expected to be fluent in analyzing and solving quadratic functions and equations.

In Unit 8, Quadratic Equations and Applications, students wrap up their study of quadratic functions in Algebra 1, diving deep into all forms of quadratic equations, methods to solve quadratic equations, and methods to identify features from equations. Students apply their understanding of how to graphically and algebraically analyze, manipulate, and solve quadratic functions to model contextual situations. Students will be expected to be fluent in analyzing and solving quadratic functions and equations in Algebra 2.

This course follows the 2017 Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks and incorporates foundational material from middle school where it is supportive of the current standards.

Course Map

Unit 1 11 Lessons

Functions, Graphs, & Features

Unit 2 22 Lessons

Descriptive Statistics

Unit 3 Coming 10/17

Single Variable Expressions, Equations and Inequalities

Unit 4 Coming 12/17

Linear Equations, Inequalities and Systems

Unit 5 Coming 12/17

Functions and Transformations

Unit 6 Coming 2/18

Exponents and Exponential Functions

Unit 7 Coming 2/18

Quadratic Functions and Solutions

Unit 8 Coming 4/18

Quadratic Equations and Applications

How to Use This Course


Mathematics at Match

The goals of Match Education’s math program are intrinsically tied to our school’s mission of providing our students with the skills and knowledge they will need to succeed in college and beyond. At Match, we seek to inspire our scholars to pursue advanced math courses, and we provide them with the foundations they will need to be successful in these courses.

Our math curriculum is designed around several core beliefs about how to best achieve our ambitious goals. These beliefs drive the decisions we make about what to teach and how to teach it.

  1. Content-rich Tasks: We believe that students learn best when asked to solve problems that spark their curiosity, require them to make novel connections between concepts, and may offer more than one avenue to the solution.
  2. Practice and Feedback: We believe that practice and feedback are essential to developing students’ conceptual understanding and fluency.
  3. Productive Struggle: We believe that students develop essential strategies for tackling complex problems, and build non-cognitive skills such as grit and resilience, through productive struggle.
  4. Procedural Fluency Combined with Conceptual Understanding: We believe that knowing “how” to solve a problem is not enough; students must also know “why” mathematical procedures and concepts exist.
  5. Communicating Mathematical Understanding: We believe that the process of communicating their mathematical thinking helps students solidify their learning and helps teachers assess student understanding.

For more information, view our full Mathematics Program Overview.