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Topic: What is Algebra? (fwd)
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Andre TOOM

Posts: 549
Registered: 12/3/04
What is Algebra? (fwd)
Posted: Apr 24, 1997 6:31 PM
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Andre Toom
Department of Mathematics
University of the Incarnate Word Tel. 210-646-0500 (h)
4301 Broadway 210-829-3170 (o)
San Antonio, Texas 78209-6318 Fax 210-829-3153

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Thu, 24 Apr 1997 10:43:36 -0500 (CDT)
From: Blake Peterson <>
To: Multiple recipients of list <>
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 TI-92; What Do We Teach Now in Algebra". The brief talk description

The TI-92 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 e-mail 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 TI-92 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 TI-92 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 E. Peterson *
* Department of Mathematics *
* Brigham Young University *
* TMCB 366 *
* Provo, UT 84602 *
* (801) 378-7784 *

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