Q&A #291

Motivating interest in introductory algebra

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From: Claudia (for Teacher2Teacher Service)
Date: Mar 26, 1998 at 22:17:45
Subject: Re: Motivating interest in introductory algebra

Perhaps you could use a different approach with your students, like math as a 

I have a friend who says "algebra lurks everywhere"! There have been several 
articles involving the algebra of card tricks. 

I also use cards with my students to create a game. I have two LARGE PRINT 
decks. The class is divided into two teams, one team leader for each. You can 
start off by asking the leaders to take 2 cards from the top of the deck. 
(You can decide that RED are negative and BLACK are positive, like being "in 
the red," and whether the face cards count as 10, or 11, 12, 13). The 
students show their two cards to their "half" of the class. The team that
has the largest sum wins the cards. This is like a version of Battle or War. 
Play continues. You can extend to include multiplication, division, absolute 
value. You can take the cards to be the values of m and b in a linear 
equation and the possibilities are endless. You can set up criteria for 
winning team, rewards, etc.

Dominoes make a wonderful number setup, too. You can do lots with fractions, 
letting the chosen dominoes be coeffients of variables. You can make cards 
with (a/x+b) - (c/x-b) and let the sum of the domino dots chosen be the 
values for a, b, and c...

There is book by Gail Burrill and Patrick Hopfensperger called Exploring 
Linear Relationships, published by Dale Seymour, that you might find 

Good luck.

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