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This curriculum unit, Strong Foundations = Success in Equations, is intended for 8thgrade Algebra students. However, it can be modified for Pre-Algebra and Math Intervention classes as well. The unit begins by focusing on expressions. It introduces numerical expressions and then transitions to variable expressions. Using real life examples, the unit's intention is that students see expressions as mathematical recipes for calculations. Once students understand the structure of expressions it leads them into simplifying expressions using the Arithmetic Rules. The rules are taught with visual models, numbers, and variables. Students who conceptually understand expressions and the Arithmetic rules used to simplify them will be able to use those skills to solve multi-step equations. The unit also addresses the difficulty students encounter when given expressions and equations in word problem format. Students will learn to break down word problems and identify important pieces of information. The focus on conceptual understanding should reach students at all levels and help prepare them for higher-level mathematics.
(Developed for Pre-Algebra, grade 7; recommended for Middle School Algebra, grade 8, and could be modified for Pre-Algebra or Math Intervention, grades 7-8)
- Janet Zegna (Thurgood Marshall Elementary School, Newark, DE)
Subject taught: All, Grade: 1
Strong Foundation = Success in Equations
I appreciated your section on the equal sign. I have been trying to stress to my first grade problem solvers the need to understand what they are doing when solving math problems and to minimize the stress on getting the answer only. They seem all proud of themselves when they can solve math facts but then if you ask them to solve a problem using the same numbers they have no knowledge of where to begin.