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Topic: Teaching Algebra
Replies: 25   Last Post: May 10, 2000 2:26 PM

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Michael Moy

Posts: 17
Registered: 12/6/04
Re: Teaching Algebra
Posted: May 4, 2000 12:43 PM
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On Thu, 04 May 2000 07:41:52 Karen Michalowicz wrote:
> Really, it doesn't matter what text a teacher uses.
> What matters is that the teacher knows what must be
> taught in algebra. I've never seen a text that I love. I'm
> using my old red Dolcani with very healthy doses of the
> graphing calculator with my Algebra 1 seventh graders.
> It works because I know what is important to teach in algebra.
> It works because I use a more contemporary text for "real
> world" problems. It works because I believe it will work.

Overall, I believe this is true if you can provide sufficient
individual help where it is needed. I like Harold Jacobs' old
text and I like Margaret Lial's books for Intermediate Algebra
and Precalculus. I haven't seen her Algebra book though but I
assume that they would be as good as her other books. I believe
that these books are aimed at the college market and that they
generally aren't used in high schools for that reason.

What a good text can do, though, is provide students with help
when they are doing their homework, and interesting connections
to other disciplines. Jacobs' book has a lot of tidbits (comics,
stories of mathematicians, puzzles) that students may find
interesting. There is no technology used as the book was written
in the days of the slide rule.

> With my 8th graders I use a book that AAAS did not recommend.
> I think the text is OK. And, frankly, a friend who was involved
> in the AAAS study liked it. However, I teach the chapters in
> a different order that the book presents. And, I use my Dolcani
> to support some of the topics.

I think that they focused on what schools purchase for use. I've
looked at a lot of algebra and algebra 2 books and the only ones
that I liked are mentioned above. I have not seen the Dolciani
texts that have been mentioned here though.

> So, to me the issue is not textbooks (although I hate to see all
> the monies spent), it is teacher education, teacher inservice,
> teacher mentoring, and teacher support.

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