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Discussion: All Topics in Algebra
Topic: Solving Equations Using Backtracking

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Subject:   RE: Solving Equations Using Backtracking
Author: vealygood
Date: Nov 3 2006
Hi all,

I have used backtracking successfully to develop understanding in a variety of
populations from 7th graders in Australia, to 10th graders in New York.  The key
term here is "developing understanding" - I don't see backtracking as a
replacement for teaching students how to solve linear equations, but it
certainly is an effective and concrete scaffold for students to develop the
understanding of WHY we use the additive and multiplicative inverse as
appropriate, and can then be used to support them as they develop fluency.

The analogy here is using base-10 blocks to help students understand place
value in 2nd, 3rd or even in some cases 5th grade; but we would not advocate
still using these in 10th grade!  Backtracking just helps kids "get it", to feel
successful, and to understand the point of the whole "solving equations"

Cheers - vealygood

On Nov  3 2006, weedthenmulch wrote:
> On Nov  1 2006, mirani wrote:
> After 25 years of teaching middle
> school maths, I have found a way
> to teach solving equations using
> backtracking that seems to get most
> students to a reasonable
> level quickly.  It is also to some extent
> removed from the need
> for good basic maths skills so the student who
> have been
> struggling can usually have success.  Student in the next
> year
> get taught the more usual methods and pick these concepts up
> easily.

If any one is interested in more information, please feel
> > free to email me


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