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ERIC Number: EJ1053521
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Mar
Pages: 3
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0025-5769
Mathematically Rich, Investigative Tasks for Teaching Algebra
Day, Lorraine
Mathematics Teacher, v108 n7 p516-518 Mar 2015
A challenge for teachers is to incorporate the Standards for Mathematical Practice (CCSSI 2010) throughout their teaching of mathematics so that the Common Core Standards do not revert back to a purely content-driven curriculum. One way to achieve this is through the use of mathematically rich, investigative tasks. These tasks encourage students to work, and see others working, as mathematical investigators within meaningful contexts (Tabach and Friedlander 2008). They address student diversity by being accessible to all, catering to a variety of learning styles and allowing for exploration while providing challenges along the way. They provide a forum to develop thinking, reasoning, and communicating skills while developing genuine understanding rather than superficial knowledge. This article describes two rich tasks--extending the pattern of a mountain range and counting the painted faces of a cube--which were designed to help students manipulate symbolism and rules in the mysterious world of algebra. By placing the learners and the mathematics at the center of the action, teachers will often find that students who struggle with routine mathematical exercises shine when investigating nonroutine problems. The investigative style allows students the freedom to construct the knowledge in a manner that suits them, they see a purpose in having the knowledge, and the mathematics becomes more accessible and meaningful. The need to work cooperatively and communicate mathematically assists in clarifying ideas, and meaning making occurs. Mathematics is no longer viewed as a set of tricks to be learned and regurgitated. It is a subject with purpose and meaning.
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: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A