Using Technology and Problem Solving to Build Algebraic Reasoning
In the Math Forum's workshop, Using Technology and Problem Solving to Build Algebraic Reasoning, we will investigate some mathematics topics common to middle school curricula within the theme of algebraic reasoning. In this context we will explore the Math Tools digital library and several software tools that contribute in some way to mathematical understanding, problem solving, reflection and discussion.
In his book entitled Fostering Algebraic Thinking, A Guide for Teachers, Grades 6-10, Mark Driscoll writes: "Because algebra composes so many mathematical features, the term algebraic thinking defies simple definition." The NCTM Standards (NCTM, 2000) says middle school students should learn algebra as both a set of competencies and "a style of mathematical thinking for formalizing patterns, functions, and generalizations."
There will be opportunities to share why you were drawn to a workshop with this focus, and what you would like to accomplish as we work together. Certainly there is more to discuss about algebraic reasoning than we can cover in this workshop. Above all else, we want to share a community and resources that support us as professionals in our ongoing efforts to improve our teaching and make use of new tools.
Notice the NCTM Algebra Standard for Grades 6-8. Is there anything there that surprises or confuses you? Aren't these quite common topics in middle school classrooms? And yet for many of us, representing the listed topics as algebra may be something very new.
Providing experiences that elicit algebraic thinking in the early years builds a solid foundation for understanding algebra in the more symbolic contexts encountered later. This workshop focuses on those experiences that are appropriate in the middle grades.
The workshop is divided into six week-long units. You will have flexibility within each week but the design of the workshop and the value for all of the participants depends on beginning and completing the activities during the assigned week and the full workshop within six weeks.
Each unit will contain
To gain the most from the activities, we are encouraging reflection along five dimensions: mathematics, technology, teaching, learning, and assessment. We look forward to your contributions to the workshop's discussions as you consider each.
Our approach is to
© 2014 The Math Forum @ Drexel,
part of NSF's NSDL
This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant DUE-0226284. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.