Daniel Ray asked: (snipped) >and was >wondering if any Algebra curriculum was out there that allowed the >student to ..... I believe, maybe he/she said "develop" Algebra. (snipped)
I have been off the list for quite some time now, and was surprised when I came back on, to find a question that mirrors my own concern about the teaching of Algebra. I'm with you on this one, Daniel!!!
I have always believed that we learn/teach algebra backwards. We learn to balance "someone elses" equations, and solve for x etc. But why? Who cares about these equations?
I have always believed that it would be much more powerful to begin by teaching students how to use algebraic langauge to describe patterns, relationships, generalizations that they observe, and then work to find the glitch in their theory. That would make balancing, and solving for the variables purposeful.
I too am an elementary education person, and am consistently working with students who invent their own 'recipe/algorythm' for solving problems. I believe that algebra only has value to students if they infact can use it to describe/generalize relationships that exist.