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Q&A #126

Teachers' Lounge Discussion: Algebra for 4th graders

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From: Mimi Harrington

To: Teacher2Teacher Public Discussion
Date: 1998091109:57:55
Subject: Hands on Algebra

Last spring I used a program with the fourth grade called Hands on Algebra. It presents equations and gives you (and the students) scales and cubes to set up the equations. The x is something like a chess pawn and there are dice with the numbers 1 -10. So to set up 2x + 4 = x + 5 you put out two pawns and a four on one side and a pawn and a five. At first they solved with trial and error but then the concept of balancing the equation was introduced. It is clearly organized with lessons containing a new topic and review problems. I am the math coordinator in the school so I came in once a week to do the lessons. I was probably in 4 or 5 times. We did the first section but it has 4 or more different levels introducing more and more complicated skills. The kids really liked it. It was different, it was algebra!, and they got to use the cool pieces. by the end of the unit the were encouraged to solve the problems without the pieces. I thought it was very successful and I am planning to follow this class through and do more in fifth and sixth grade. You can see adds for this program in the NCTM magazines, but if you need a specific address I will look through the box and try to find one. Good luck. Mimi Harrington Dedham Country Day School

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