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ERIC Number: EJ915193
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Feb
Pages: 7
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 8
ISSN: ISSN-1072-0839
Dine on Rich Functional Examples
Robichaux, Rebecca R.; Rodrigue, Paulette R.
Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School, v16 n6 p368-374 Feb 2011
Given the importance of algebra, middle school mathematics teachers have a responsibility to help students transition from understanding arithmetic to understanding the algebra that will be necessary for success in high school. One method of transition involves introducing algebraic concepts in concrete ways using meaningful contexts. The series of activities described in this article, used in an eighth-grade classroom, introduce students to functions, independent and dependent variables, slope, and y-intercept through the context of geometry. These activities help students transition from arithmetic-based to algebra-based problem solving. The geometric context allows abstract content to become meaningful. Each activity begins with arithmetic; students must count, add on, multiply, and then determine and explain the recursive relationship. As each activity progresses, students begin to think algebraically of the functional relationship in terms of the independent and dependent variables. After completing the activities, teachers can assess understanding by having students investigate other growing patterns on their own and create a variety of original situations, representing both linear and curvilinear functions. Students having difficulty creating their own functional situations can first create appropriate tables of data and then create situations to match these data. Starting with dining table problems, and then expanding to other geometric contexts, students become familiar with patterns and functions as well as graphing concepts. (Contains 5 figures.)
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: Grade 8; Middle Schools
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A