> representing the number of rods. I am a little concerned that this notation > system is being promoted as "algebra". In fact, I this this could possibly > lead to misconceptions (i.e., the "student-professor" syndrome). Any > thoughts or reactions?
I'm really asking... If I state "2X"...is this just plain old math...or is it notation that is basic to doing algebra?
I think the variable that is getting overlooked here is the age of the student. Using computer manipulatives allows the student to "play" with numbers in ways that have an "algebraic feel" to them. Is that a "mushy" enough way to characterize it. It has been pointed out that while some 1st grade classes are trying to count to ten, other 1st graders are busy playing with patterns of how many of these does it take to make so many of those. Without doing "drill & kill" sheets, students using Mouse-N-Math are playing with numbers, values, what equals what, and doing it in a way that is fun and keeps them occupied for lengthy periods of time. Finally, how can a math manipulative lead to misconceptions? If I stack so many blocks of one color to make a length of another color and then the teacher expresses that reality with numbers and letters, I don't see that as a "bad" thing. My observations are that kids enjoy playing with colorful rods that represent values and they are more likely to experiment with math when done in this format.