Patterns In Algebra

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Patterns In Algebra

For many years, I was a frustrated algebra teacher.  I wanted my students to understand the algebra they were learning, but wasn't always sure what I wanted them to understand.  Then I had an idea, triggered by the old axiom, "Mathematics is the study of patterns."  If that was true, then why don't we teach algebra as the recognition and extension of patterns.  I could find little material that followed this approach.  There was nothing online, and certainly nothing in the text books.  So, working with a colleague or two, I created my own material.  I was truly amazed at the diffference in my students and their attitudes toward algebra.  They became enthusiastic learners, and met the big ideas of algebra--completing the square, for example--with a shrug, because when they got there they already had explored the patterns involved.  
As we shared this approach, most recently at the 2009 NCTM National in Washington D.C., teachers were excited at the idea of teaching algebra through patterns.  As they worked through the material we gave them, they quickly saw how easily algebra could be learned when it was developed through patterns.

Bob Greer

July 20, 2009, 3:46 pm by Guest

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