ERIC Number: ED446895
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1998
Solving Algebra Problems before Algebra Instruction.
Schliemann, Analucia D.; Carraher, David W.; Brizuela, Barbara M.; Jones, Wendy
If equivalent operations are performed on the left term and right term of an equation, a new equation results. This principle allows one to produce equations with a variable isolated on one side and its value(s) on the other. It also underlies problem-solving in situations where equations are not explicitly used, but the problem calls for recognizing that two quantities are equal in value and using that information to derive conclusions about values of unknown quantities. The present paper focuses on how third-grade children recognize and use this logical principle in solving problems. It also looks at issues children face as they try to represent unknowns through written notation and use their written symbols to draw inferences about unknown values. The results showed that children comfortably recognized that equal additive operations upon equal quantities produce equal results (Study 1 ). Further, they easily produced written representations of known (numerically quantified or measured) quantities. However, the children showed considerable hesitation about producing written representations for unknown quantities (Study 2). Their hesitation seems to stem from the challenge of finding a symbol to represent a quantity without constraining or making incorrect presumptions about values it may stand for. (Author)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Science Foundation, Arlington, VA.
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Earlier version presented at the Annual Early Algebra Meeting (2nd, Medford, MA, 1998).