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What is Algebra? (fwd)
Posted:
Apr 24, 1997 6:31 PM


Enjoy.
Andre Toom Department of Mathematics toom@universe.iwctx.edu University of the Incarnate Word Tel. 2106460500 (h) 4301 Broadway 2108293170 (o) San Antonio, Texas 782096318 Fax 2108293153
 Forwarded message  Date: Thu, 24 Apr 1997 10:43:36 0500 (CDT) From: Blake Peterson <peterson@math.byu.edu> To: Multiple recipients of list <amte@csd.uwm.edu> Subject: What is Algebra?
At the AMTE Conference Within A Conference held in Minneapolis last Saturday as part of the NCTM conference, one of the talk titles was "Here's the TI92; What Do We Teach Now in Algebra". The brief talk description was:
The TI92 has an algebraic manipulator. What implications does this have for the algebra curriculum. Come discuss this and other related issued generated by the availability of new technologies with other mathematics teacher educators..
This session boiled down to a discussion of 'what are the main ideas in algebra?' and 'what should the curriculum really look like?' The session was not long enough to get a good handle on this idea so Judith Jacobs suggested that we toss it around on email to see what everyone's thoughts are. I also think that the thoughts and comments generated here will give us some good material for discussions with our prespective secondary teachers in methods classes.
I will now just toss out some thoughts and comments (not necessarily my own thinking) to get things started.
1. Algebra is to Calculus as the Alphabet is to reading. The goal of learning algebra is just to give us the tools to do calculus.
2. Now that the TI92 can do extensive symbolic factoring of polynomials, why do we still teach factoring  i e what is the big underlying idea of factoring polynomials?
3. Now that the TI92 can symbolically solve equations, do we still continue to have students solve pages and pages of equations? What is the big underlying idea of solving equations?
Thanks for reading,
Blake
************************** * Blake E. Peterson * * Department of Mathematics * * Brigham Young University * * TMCB 366 * * Provo, UT 84602 * * (801) 3787784 * **************************



