Ask Paige: Rock Your ALEKS In the New Year!


Photo courtesy of Paige Kuhn

Here at Kettle Moraine School for Arts and Performance (KM Perform), there is no designated class for Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II, or Pre Calculus; instead, we use ALEKS, an online math textbook that provides “homework” that students can complete at their own pace. In order to graduate from KM Perform, you need three credits of math. These can be earned by completing ALEKS courses (named above), doing evidence of application projects, and taking seminars with KM Perform Math Facilitator Mr. Anderson. Here are some tips to keep you on-track with your math in 2019!

First, you should designate at least half an hour per weekday to doing ALEKS. Then, you aren’t sitting down for two and a half hours at the end of the week to get all of your math done. By making a habit of doing half an hour per weekday, you will retain more information, but to achieve the best results, you’ll want to do it at the same time each day. For instance, if I do ALEKS at 6:00 PM one day, and 3:00 PM another, I’ll tend to put it off until the very end of the week, when I’m tired and less likely to do my best. To avoid this, practice consistency; don’t let yourself stray from your pattern, because once it is established, it’ll be much easier to complete your ALEKS.

Second, you should always take advantage of application of evidence opportunities. For Algebra I through Pre Calculus, you need three pieces of math evidence, which should use “mathematical ideas and skills in a real-life application that is interdisciplinary with an authentic audience,” according to Mr. Anderson. For example, let’s say you’re designing set pieces for the KM Perform musical. If you use concepts from Geometry to aid you in the design process, and you can show evidence of your calculations and how you applied them, you can submit that as a piece of math evidence. As Mr. Anderson says, “Math is a part of everything,” so be on the lookout. If you’re ever not sure about whether or not a project you’re doing would qualify as an application of evidence, all you need to do is check with Mr. Anderson; he is available before/after school, during advisory, and during his seminars/workshops as time permits.

Third, you should take some discrete math seminars with Mr. Anderson; KM Perform isn’t designed so you can only get math credit through ALEKS. In fact, you are encouraged to take Mr. Anderson’s math classes concurrent with your ALEKS course. “I offer contextual seminars where we [study] mathematical ideas in the context of some real-life problems,” said Mr. Anderson. Personally, I find these classes to be really fun, because the concepts taught in them make practical sense: you’re not being taught some random formulas that you’ll never need (or remember, for that matter). Try to take at least one class with Mr. Anderson every other seminar series, and it’ll help you stay on-track with your math goals.

Math isn’t something to stress over. Over the course of your four years at KM Perform, you’re given many opportunities to fulfill your math requirements. So, make sure you always have your eyes peeled for math application evidence, keep a consistent ALEKS schedule, and take some classes with Mr. Anderson. If you do these three things, you’re guaranteed to rock your math in the new year!