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Re: alg/geo combo
Posted:
Feb 22, 1995 1:20 AM


On Tuesday, Marsha Landau wrote:
>I would like to add my $ .02: > >The rush to calculus is one of the stated reasons for the rush to have >middle school students take formal algebra courses in grade 7 or 8. Never >mind that the middle school math teacher may not be well prepared to teach >the subject, there are few materials available that enable one to teach a >developmentally appropriate Algebra I course to seventh or eighthgraders, >or the fact that few of the students actually go on to the successful >completion of AP Calculus in high school. > >Whenever a school district asks for my "expertise" on teaching a formal, >yearlong algebra course in middle school, I ask them to check the >historical record to see whether this offering has produced the intended >results down the road. >
Your suggested comments to school districts are insightful...I doubt that many people have compared the results of such curricular change...we are too busy trying to flag down the next "educational badwagon" upon which to jump...
Nevertheless, I would like to know more about your stance upon algebra in the middle school...Mostly, I have two questions:
(1) If not any algebra during the middle school years, then what? This question is akin to the high school question: If no calculus, then what? At the calculus level, I have a much easier time answering that question...I am certainly familiar with the NCTM standards at the 58 level and know that there is an immense amount of mathematics we can cover with students at this level...at any level, actually! Yet, I have seen students recover and recover the same material from year to year without any depth being added to the tightly wound spiral of our curriculum...
(2) What constitutes developmentally appropriate materials? I have been disgusted by many materials that I have seen in use, but I do recognize that there are individuals and some companies who do have quality materials... I am not in the habit of endorsing particular texts or resource packets on the airwaves, but I have seen even sixth graders in Danville, Il handling the "formal" aspects (as much as we usually address) of algebra as well as many high school, or (gulp!) college freshmen remedial algebra classes. Granted, these were accelerated kids, but I have seen many seventh and eighth graders who can handle the algebra capably. Why not go ahead and give them the intoduction to algebra so they may be able to use its concepts and tools in learn a wider, deeper variety of math at the high school level? (Even without reaching calculus in high school).
I sound adament as I reread these last two paragraphs; in actuality, I am not...I am just curious...Your opinions and "expertise" will help me make sense of the inductive thinking I seem to be doing from having seen several different class settings.
Thanks for your input!!
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