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ERIC Number: EJ1078481
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 7
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1072-0839
Racing toward Algebra and Slope
Town, James R.; Espinosa, Alison M.
Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School, v21 n3 p169-174 Oct 2015
"Mathematical modeling of the physical world should be the central theme of physics instruction" (Hestenes 1987). Science teachers know this, but because of standardized state testing, many math teachers and some science teachers feel the need to focus on memorizing facts that will be on a multiple-choice test (Volante 2004). As a result, instead of tackling physical representations of mathematics in science and math classes, many students only experience modeling in their science classes, if at all. This is especially troubling for English language learners who may benefit from concrete experiences to understand a specific situation. This article proposes a concrete experience that will give all students an anchor with which to connect to more abstract symbolic representation (Garrison and Mora 1999). In mathematics classrooms, helping students understand slope can be a daunting task. From simple rate problems to derivatives, the idea of the rate of change requires a depth of understanding well beyond "rise over run." To better understand this overarching concept that permeates all secondary level mathematics, students need to be given opportunities to connect the abstract concept of slope with physical situations. Giving students a concrete situation with which to talk about an abstract concept can help them understand it at a different level (Ball 1988). A bibliography and activity sheet are included.
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; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A