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Discussion: All Topics in Algebra
Topic: Is "variable" confusing to students?


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Subject:   RE: Is 'variable' confusing to students?
Author: ihor
Date: May 9 2009
On May  8 2009, stek wrote:
> Hi Susan,

You bring up a very important point: our algebraic
> notation is very elegant and flexible, allowing us to use it in a
> wide variety of contexts. The accompanying risk is that we may gloss
> over subtle differences in a way that leaves students confused.
> On this subject I highly recommend a chapter in NCTM's Research
> Companion to Principles and Standards for School Mathematics. The
> chapter, by Daniel Chazan and Michal Yerushalmy, is entitled "On the
> Cognitive Complexity of School Algebra: Research on Algebra Learning
> and Directions of Curricular Change."

Interesting. I didn't have access to Dan's chapter but I did I find a reference
to it in this good article about this issue "What Do Students Struggle with When
First Introduced to Algebra Symbols? "  at:

http://www.nctm.org/uploadedFiles/Research_News_and_Advocacy/Research/Clips_and_Briefs/research%20brief%2008%20-%20%20initial%20symbols.pdf

-Ihor

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