ERIC Number: ED394828
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1995-Oct
Annual Report on Promising Practices: How the Algebra Project Eliminates the "Game of Signs" with Negative Numbers.
Carson, Cristi L.; Day, Judith
This paper argues that operations with negative numbers should be taught using a curriculum that is grounded in algebraic geometry. This position is supported by the results from a study that compared the conceptual understanding of grade 9 students who received the Algebra Project transition curriculum to a control group of grade 6 gifted students who received a traditional introductory algebra course. The overall scores on an open-ended examination showed that the Algebra Project students, who performed lower than the traditional students at the beginning of the year, had surpassed the traditional group by the end of the year. Further examination of the students' problem-solving strategies revealed that the Algebra Project students had developed an understanding of integer addition and subtraction, based on vector operations, while the traditional group of students still exhibited confusion from the use of the conventional sign rules. The study results show how all operations with integers can be made more intuitive to students by providing them with physical experiences that correspond to vector operations in space/time coordinates. These results not only reinforce the view that all students should have the opportunity to learn the important ideas of mathematics, but that all students need to learn the traditionally "higher-order mathematics" that provide geometrical grounding for abstract algebraic concepts. (Contains 19 references.) (Author)
Descriptors: Algebra, Concept Formation, Demonstration Programs, Elementary School Mathematics, Elementary School Students, Grade 6, Grade 9, Integers, Intermediate Grades, Junior High Schools, Mathematical Concepts, Problem Solving, Secondary School Mathematics, Secondary School Students
Southwest Regional Laboratory, 4665 Lampson Avenue, Los Alamitos, CA 90720.
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Far West Lab. for Educational Research and Development, San Francisco, CA.; Southwest Regional Lab., Los Alamitos, CA.