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Topic: when should students take algebra? (fwd)
Replies: 5   Last Post: Mar 27, 1997 7:17 AM

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Ken Blystone

Posts: 15
Registered: 12/6/04
Re: when should students take algebra?
Posted: Mar 26, 1997 6:44 PM
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On Wed, 26 Mar 1997, W Gary Martin wrote:

> 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" 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.


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