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Teachers' Lounge Discussion: Teaching algebra in middle school

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From: Kathy Ross

To: Teacher2Teacher Public Discussion
Date: 2002021914:46:34
Subject: teaching algebra in middle school

This is an interesting discussion and one very appropriate to my current job. As the curriculum specialist in a district with 40% of our 8th graders completing Algebra I and 9% completing Algebra II, we are currently discussing whether it is feasible and desirable to increase the percentage of students completing Algebra I. My observation is that if we continue to "pull down" hgih school Prealgebra and Algebra I texts, we will not be able to increase the percentage of students completing algebra in grade 8. But materials that teach algebra in a middle school friendly way might make a difference. Have any of you used the "Hands On Equations" material? Teachers in my district have used it successfully with students as young as Gr. 2. It is a very engaging program and really develops some of the basic understandings of algebra, particularly the rules for manipulation of equations. Our math review committee is currently reviewing materials to select for piloting. One program under discussion is the Impact Math program which is a program designed to teach Algebra I to middle school students over three years. We are also looking at Connected Math and three more traditional middle school programs. Unfortunately with all but Impact, it is clear that a separate Algebra I text is needed to cover all of the topics addressed in the high school courses. Does anyone have experience with materials that increase the ability of students to successfully learn algebra? Thanks, Kathy Ross, Park Ridge, IL

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