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ERIC Number: EJ961653
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 5
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1326-0286
How Problem Solving Can Develop an Algebraic Perspective of Mathematics
Windsor, Will
Australian Primary Mathematics Classroom, v16 n4 p8-12 2011
SProblem solving has a long and successful history in mathematics education and is valued by many teachers as a way to engage and facilitate learning within their classrooms. The potential benefit for using problem solving in the development of algebraic thinking is that "it may broaden and develop students' mathematical thinking beyond the routine acquisition of isolated techniques and procedures often associated with secondary school algebra." Furthermore, the thinking required to solve problems can be extended from methods tied to concrete situations--the backbone of primary school mathematics--to experiences that develop an ability to solve problems using abstractions based on the relationships within the problems. By establishing an algebraic perspective of problem solving it acknowledges that "students can adapt their ways of thinking, they can express mathematical generalisations and it can provide an entry to algebraic symbolism that is meaningful." This article describes a lesson that was undertaken in a Year 7 class. Six groups, each with four students, were given structurally similar problems. The approaches taken by two of the groups are presented, to demonstrate how algebraic reasoning can build from their experiences, discussions and interpretation of mathematical problems. Their voices explain the strategies and thinking they used to solve two structurally similar problems. (Contains 4 figures.)
Australian Association of Mathematics Teachers (AAMT). GPO Box 1729, Adelaide 5001, South Australia. Tel: +61-8-8363-0288; Fax: +61-8-8362-9288; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Grade 7; High Schools; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia