Q&A #2502

Integers in Algebra

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From: Suzanne A. (for Teacher2Teacher Service)
Date: Nov 11, 1999 at 12:25:17
Subject: Re: Integers in Algebra

I would suggest using algebra tiles. Since it is rather involved to explain
how these work, I've found some web resources that have information on them
about using the tiles in lessons.

Here is one by David A. Reid that also has a link to pages that you can use
to make the tiles yourself, if you don't have those manipulatives.

Learning about Algebra tiles: Activities for teachers

Here is another site to try:

Adding integers

I found other pages but these will give you the idea, however, I would also
like to point out that they skip some of the basic building work that I would
suggest be done when introducing the algebra tiles.

I start out just doing very elementary integer representation with them. So,
you would demonstrate

2 + 3  and  -2 + 3   and  2 - 3 (or 2 + -3)  and  -2 - 3 (or -2 + -3)

Once the students have a clear understanding of how that "looks"
geometrically and numerically, then you could introduce the idea of variables
and go from there to more complicated ideas.

I hope that helps!

 -Suzanne A., for the Teacher2Teacher service

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