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Teaching Algebra Blog

Discussion in 'Mathematics' started by Mr_Mathematics, Mar 19, 2016.

  1. Mr_Mathematics

    Mr_Mathematics New commenter

    Hi,

    I've written a new blog about using diagrams to teach algebraic notation to a mixed ability year 7 class. Would be really interested in your feedback.
    Click here to read it.

    Many thanks
    Jonathan
     
  2. lilymay23

    lilymay23 New commenter

    I am very much in favour of a diagrammatic approach, but I'm afraid your's doesn't do it for me. For x I would have a linear representation - a line, and then construct shapes of given perimeter. Having x for a square measure seems odd. I use rectangles to demonstrate to the learners things like x squared and xy, and so forth. You can carry that on easily to the standard ways of multiplying brackets by a constant and by another linear term, giving the build-up of quadratics.
     
  3. googolplex

    googolplex Occasional commenter

    There was a question based on this very approach in one of the old KS3 NC tests.
    Unlike the previous respondent, I don't have a problem with your idea - as one approach of many. There's nothing wrong with an area representation for a variable. After all, x could equal the square of some other variable.
     
  4. googolplex

    googolplex Occasional commenter

  5. lilymay23

    lilymay23 New commenter

    Indeed it could, but for introducing certain aspects of algebra, then having x=(say) y squared seems a bit complex. I'd seen this question, and decided against nicking it for basic algebra, but I take your point. I think it is the fact that it is level 6-8 that made it more difficult than I needed.
     
  6. Mr_Mathematics

    Mr_Mathematics New commenter

    Hi Lillymay23
    I like your idea of using diagrams for teaching how to multiply out brackets. I use such an approach when teaching multiplying out quadratic brackets to foundation students as it reinforces the concept of area while providing a clear writing frame.

    I like to teach algebraic notation to year 7s in this though as it is intuitively obvious that one shape is different to another, hence reinforcing how two letters are different. This means students are unlikely to ever collect them together.

    Teaching collecting like terms through the perimeter of shapes is something I do also. Again, I like how such an approach reinforces other aspects of maths. Check out this GCSE lesson where I use perimeter for collecting like terms.

    Thanks
    Jonathan
     
  7. Mr_Mathematics

    Mr_Mathematics New commenter

    Hi googolplex

    Thanks for your comment.
    Really like that Q19. Think I'll use that as a starter one lesson as a quick recap.

    Thanks
    Jonathan
     

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