A Farewell to Subtraction

Tracy Safran is always looking for a way to connect girls to math. 
     The seventh grade math teacher since 2008, Safran wants the girls to have fun learning in the classroom while holding them accountable. 
     "Making the connections to real life helps as well," she said.
     The seventh graders made a unique connection earlier this month. As they continue to work on integer problems, Safran came up with the idea to hold a funeral in each class to say farewell to subtraction. The girls wrote farewell notes to be "buried."
     "Subtraction can be confusing," she said. "So when we see subtraction (most of the time) we rewrite it as adding the opposite (because a subtraction sign means the opposite)."
     Safran explained that she teaches the girls that all subtraction problems can be rewritten. For example: 10 - 8 is the same as 10 + -8.  
     It was a well-received lesson for Safran's students. And she continues to search for creative ways to spark seventh grade girls — an age she truly enjoys teaching.
     "I love that a seventh grader is still a kid when they start the year but transition to a teenager," Safran said. "They are sweet, funny and a little bit of serious sometimes."
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