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While teaching my Pre-Calculus and AP Calculus students, I have realized that using mathematical symbols to create numeric and algebraic expressions, and to solve text problems is usually a big problem for them. They struggle to translate a verbal problem statement into symbolic mathematical expressions and equations. However, to be successful in upper level Math, Physics and Chemistry students should be able to create a mathematical model based on the given data. This is an extremely challenging task for them. This curricular unit will emphasize an idea that Mathematics is a language. It will help teachers build students` competence in writing numeric and algebraic expressions while “translating” real-life problems into the mathematical language of symbols.
(Developed for Algebra and Trigonometry, grades 9-10; recommended for Pre-Algebra, Algebra I, Algebra II, Pre-Calculus, and Calculus, grades 7-12)
Number 16 of the periodical On Common Ground
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