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Lin IC. No. : 830929-01-5934 Research Topic Chosen: Improving the understanding in algebraic expression for Form 3 Firus students through using pictorial representation. Introduction In Mathematics, algebra is a language for describing actions on, and relationship among, quantities. According to Wagner and Parker (1990), this language difficulty may arise from feature of the language itself or in translating from one language to another. Within the language of algebra, most linguistic difficulties are related to variables and expressions; most translation difficulties arise in translating word problems into equations. Undeniably, a number of students have difficulties to transfer their mathematical knowledge into algebraic solution. Thus, these students can hardly perform excellently in Algebra related topics while they constantly make inappropriate solution and calculation. This situation is even more noticeable among the intermediate students who are able to do common calculation and aim for higher credits in PMR examination; yet, they still can hardly grasp the dim light in algebraic expression. Problem From the teaching experience in weaker classes (3 Firus), many students were identified to have various difficulties in algebraic expression. It is known that the in algebraic expression letters also appear in arithmetic, but in a very different way. For example in arithmetic, we may use letter a to denote "apples" and p to denote "pears", but in algebra, we normally use a to represent the number of apples, and p, the number of pears. Based on their old knowledge in arithmetic, students

In this context. In fact. it is easier to think that 3a does not mean 3 times the number of apples. So for them. we gain some us some economy of the notation. Identifying problem Many of the difficulties that school students face in learning algebra may have their source in the poor understanding of two important concepts – the variable and the algebraic expression. The confusion here is also due to the omission of the operation sign for multiplication (3a (or 3 * a) for 3 X a). Subramaniam and Benerjee (2004) have pointed out that the root of the problem lays in the interconnections between students' growing understanding of arithmetic expressions and beginning algebra. it has been recognized that students' understanding of arithmetic and algebraic expressions are interconnected. but 3 apples.think that letters are names for concrete things. Therefore. students who make errors in manipulating algebraic expressions repeat some of these errors when dealing with arithmetic expressions. In the lesson. The difficulty in understanding the multiple meanings encoded by expressions may underlie the inability of many students to operate with unclosed expressions. For example. Sfard (1991) and Tall (1999) have pointed to the difficulty in understanding the process-product duality of algebraic expressions. It is believed that the students will be able to reconstruct their own perception in algebraic expression. This explains those students who have a poor sense of the structure of arithmetic expressions and are unable to judge the equivalence of expressions. According to Wagner and Parker (1990). . and because these systems follow different rules. the students are asked to rebuild the equation with manipulative and check their answers. . Raymond and Leinenbach (2000) suggest that it is essential to design a lesson by using pictorial representation to introduce the algebraic expression to the students who have some obstacles in learning. which encode both operational instructions as well as denote a number that is the product of these operations. but at the expense of possible confusion. it can be concluded that these weaker students would be able to understand the concept better through the changing of methodology in the beginning of introducing the ideas of algebraic expression. this is because we use two distinct symbol systems (letters and numbers) together in algebra.

They begin by building the equation by using the pictures by placing them correctly in order to get a balanced result. students may be given the problem “X + 4 = 2X + 3” to solve. I had design an activity that required the learners to reconstruct the algebraic expression through the innovative pictorial representation. It is conducted as the following figures. Figure 1 illustrates a pictorial representation of how .Methodology To overcome this problem. In the lesson.

the students remove the number 3 picture from both sides of the balanced scale and determine that the answer is 1. Next. The result is shown pictorially in Figure 2. another limitation is that this visualised objects method may be inappropriate for those who have less advantage in weaker visualisation according to Gardner’s multiple intelligence. those with higher learning ability may find this model dull and less attractive. Besides. students exchange the red cube numbered with a ‘4’ for two number pictures. Targeted group I had decided to use a class of 31 Form 3 students in class 3 Firus as the samples for this study.students would initially build the equation. (See Figure 3). Limitation Time constraint is the main obstacles for many teachers in secondary setting do not use manipulative objects with the students. The students already had the background knowledge in basic algebraic knowledge and calculation but they often made mistakes in more complex structures. This lesson is further extended by using more complex questions and solution till the students are able to understand the concept of algebraic expression. Students then perform the first move of removing the same item from both sides of the equation. Thus. this model is designed to cater to the weaker students who have disruptive behaviour and learning difficulty in Mathematics. . one numbered ‘3’ and one numbered ‘1’. Finally. Furthermore.

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