Thursday, October 18, 2018

Montana Educator Conference 2018: Making Algebra Meaningful

This session is based on my work as an algebra teacher and research. I also drew on ideas that my colleagues Raymond Johnson and David Webb presented at NCTM.

The session focused on how to make algebraic equations and manipulations meaningful for students. The theme of the session is the relationship between models, structure, and strategy.

I introduced two models for algebra equations: a balance model and an arrow chain model, discussed how each model produces a different structure for algebra equations, and how each model can be used develop meaningful strategies for algebraic manipulations. 

I also discussed how the models can be developed through progressive formalization of informal contexts.

Resources from the session

Download the problems from the session

Activity sequences for your classroom

Download the activity sequence for the arrow chain model


A number line is also a great model for algebra equations.

Download an activity sequence for the number line model