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Hands-on Algebra Activities

Discussion in 'Mathematics' started by v.vijeyarasa, Jun 27, 2011.

  1. I am teaching introductory Algebra to a low ability Year 7 class. We are just doing the basic four operations (adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing). We've expanded brackets and covered basic substitution. I am finding they keep confusing their rules eg. a + a + a = a^3 and a x a x a = 3a^3. They are committing a variety of big errors.
    Does anyone have any suggestions for building up their skills. I have used some matching card activities, many interactive whiteboard activities, worksheets, summary cards to consolidate their understanding but I'm having limited success.
    I appreciate any ideas that enables these students to have fun and learn.

  2. How about an "Always, Sometimes, Never True" activity where you give them written statements such as 2x = x^2 and they have to place them under one of the headings, justifying their answer. I think your class will be able to do this as you've said they've done some substitution, so even if their knowledge is a bit shakey they can check with examples.
  3. Low level year 7s are going to find the topic potentially hard to access regardless.
    Learning doesnt have to be fun and it may simply be a case of rote learning rules before you can move them onto anything that requires multi tasking. They must be engaged
    Have you asked them to sub in a number for 'a' and see what happens?
    Initialy I dont even use letters, I simply use a box or circle they need to fill in.
    Literacy and numeracy together with new rules, new games and wizzy things can be overload for many.
  4. Good point, I hadn't registered the "low ability" statement. At my school that would mean working at L3 and below. Whilst the rest of year 7 start algebra, these students do "missing numbers" as Beta described. They don't have the concept of indices to handle the algebra you describe.
  5. Hi Brookes. My response was to the original rather than slating your suggestion as I hadnt seen it [​IMG]
  6. (I realised so no offence taken - just enjoying the discussion!)
  7. LiamD

    LiamD Occasional commenter

    I use cuisenaire rods to teach first-time algebra. Dunno if it's any better than the alternatives but the kids don't tend to mix up a + a and a x a. We spend quite a lot time representing expressions using the rods tho'.

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