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ERIC Number: EJ1051715
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Feb
Pages: 7
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1072-0839
An Authentic Task That Models Quadratics
Baron, Lorraine M.
Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School, v20 n6 p334-340 Feb 2015
As students develop algebraic reasoning in grades 5 to 9, they learn to recognize patterns and understand expressions, equations, and variables. Linear functions are a focus in eighth-grade mathematics, and by algebra 1, students must make sense of functions that are not linear. This article describes how students worked through a classroom task that was designed to introduce quadratic functions. According to the Common Core's Standards for Mathematical Practice, students demonstrate mathematical modeling when they apply what they know and are comfortable making assumptions and decisions to solve complex authentic situations. Steen (2001, p. 2) argued that to thrive in the modern world, citizens must "see the benefits (and risks) of thinking quantitatively about commonplace issues, and to approach complex problems with confidence in the value of careful reasoning." The classroom example described shows that students identified important quantities in practical situations and chose appropriate representations, such as diagrams, tables, graphs, and formulas, to communicate their understanding. This proved to be a powerful illustration of how to "Model with mathematics" (CCSSI 2010, p. 7). Selling muffins introduced students to quadratic functions. Communicating with tables, graphs, and formulas helped solidify their understanding.
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:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Secondary Education; High Schools
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A