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ERIC Number: EJ1152252
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017-Mar
Pages: 8
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1072-0839
Discovering Linear Equations in Explicit Tables
Burton, Lauren
Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School, v22 n7 p398-405 Mar 2017
When teaching algebra concepts to middle school students, the author often hears questions that echo her own past confusion as a young student learning to write linear equations using data tables that show only input and output values. Students, expected to synthesize the relationship between these values in symbolic representation, grow frustrated when they do not recognize that implicit relationship quickly. The structure of a four-column explicit table allows students of all abilities (from low achieving to honor students) to understand the relationship between the values found in linear equation tables. After implementing four-column tables, the author found that students required less instructional interference from her, they developed self-efficacy, understood and retained the material, and attained higher year-end test scores. Expanding two-column tables into four columns helps students see linear patterns and can later help them compare the patterns to other function types. In this article, the author outlines how teachers implement this process in a mid-socioeconomic, suburban, predominantly white middle school that includes grades 7-9. The purpose of this article is to illustrate how an explicit four-column table structure can extend students' understanding of linearity, beginning with seventh-grade proportional reasoning and leading to tenth-grade concepts of linear transformations.
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. 1906 Association Drive, Reston, VA 20191. Tel: 800-235-7566; Tel: 703-620-9840; Fax: 703-476-2570; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Middle Schools
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A