ERIC Number: EJ1044162
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Mar
Reference Count: N/A
Working the System
Berks, Darla R.; Vlasnik, Amber N.
Mathematics Teacher, v107 n7 p542-546 Mar 2014
Unfortunately, many students learn about the concept of systems of linear equations in a procedural way. The lessons are taught as three discrete methods. Connections between the methods, in many cases, are not made. As a result, the students' overall understanding of the concept is very limited. By the time the teacher reaches the end of the unit, students are so overwhelmed by these different methods that they struggle to even get started on the problems. Students just look for the procedure and often ask "What method do I use on this system?" The authors found themselves asking why. Is there a better way to teach this unit so that students can start to make those connections themselves? Out of these frustrations came the Farmer Fred problem and an entire lesson focused on his balancing dilemma. In this article, the authors describe the reasoning and thinking that took place in this planning, explain this introductory problem, and discuss the benefits that they observed with their students. A bibliography is included.
Descriptors: Equations (Mathematics), Problem Solving, Mathematics Instruction, Teaching Methods, Units of Study, Algebra, Concept Formation
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. 1906 Association Drive, Reston, VA 20191-1502. Tel: 800-235-7566; Tel: 703-620-3702; Fax: 703-476-2970; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Web site: http://www.nctm.org/publications/
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A