Title

Professional Development Course 08/09 Advance in Curriculum Studies and Teaching Methods (Mathematics)
What do we and our students do in mathematics lesson? Mathematical Tasks for Teaching and Learning Arthur Lee Jan 10, 2009 amslee@hku.hk

http://web.hku.hk/~amslee/math07/

http://web.hku.hk/~amslee/it07/

http://web.hku.hk/~amslee/allggb/
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MLT

Exploring the Space of T eaching

http://homepage.mac.com/msalee/mlt/
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topics activities

Mathematical Topics, Tasks and Activities

The basic aim of a mathematics lesson is for learners to learn something about a particular topic. To do this, they engage in tasks. By 'tasks' we mean what learners are asked to do: the calculations to be performed, the mental images and diagrams to be discussed, or the symbols to be manipulated. ...

The purpose of a task is to initiate activity by learners. In such activity, learners construct and act upon objects, whether physical, mental or symbolic, that pertain to a mathematical topic. This activity is intended to draw learners' attention to important features, so that they may learn to distinguish between relevant aspects, or recognise properties, or appreciate relationships between properties. (based on Christiansen & Walther, 1986)

Mason & Johnston-Wilder (2006) pp.4-5
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connections

Beyond particular topics
Mathematics is traditionally divided into domains such as arithmetic, algebra, geometry, and data handling. Topics are often allocated to one of these domains: arithmetic, algebra, geometry and data handling. There are two problems with this approach. Firstly, some topics do not fit easily into one of the categories. For example, coordinate geometry is both algebra and geometry; similarly, measures are used in both arithmetic and geometry. The second problem is that, by separating topics in this way, mathematics can degenerate into a large collection of techniques and vocabulary, with connections between the topics being ignored. Many textbooks accentuate this disconnection by the way they organise different topics on successive pages 'so learners won't get bored'. However, Askew et al. (1997) looked at teachers of classes which do well in standard assessment tasks. They found that most significant feature of the teachers was the richness of the teachers' awareness of how mathematical topics fit together.

Mason & Johnston-Wilder (2006) pp.20-21
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themes

Rather than trying to fit topics into categories, it can be helpful to think in terms of some pervasive mathematical themes that serve to unify topics which might otherwise appear to be disparate. Mathematical Themes 1. Freedom and Constraint 2. Invariance in the midst of change 3. Extending and Restricting Meaning 4. Doing and Undoing

Mason & Johnston-Wilder (2006) p.21
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block 4

◆ ◇ ◇ ◇ ◇

Mathematical Themes freedom & constraint doing & undoing extending & restricting invariance & change

◆ Pedagogic Constructs ◇ stressing & ignoring ◇ dimensions of possible variation ◇ manipulating-getting-a-sense-of-articulating ◇ do-talk-record ◇ enactive-iconic-symbolic & different worlds ◇ see-experience-master

◆ Structure of a Topic ◇ awareness & absences ◇ harnessing emotion ◇ training behaviour

◇ structure of attention ◇ what makes an example exemplary? ◇ didactic transposition

◆ Learners' Powers ◇ imaging & expressing ◇ specialising & generalising ◇ conjecturing & convincing ◇ organising & classifying

◆ Pedagogic Strategies ◇ say what you see ◇ same & different ◇ another & another ◇ in how many ways? ◇ turn a doing into an undoing ◇ scaffolding & fading ◇ learner-constructed examples ◇ diverting attention in order to automate ◇ teaching techniques

Johnston-Wilder, S. & Mason, J. (eds.) (2005) Developing Thinking in Geometry London, Open University & Paul Chapman Publishing
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topic

Preparing to teach a topic

http://www.ncetm.org.uk/Default.aspx?page=22&module=enc&mode=100&enclbl=Structure+of+a+Topic
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structure

Preparing to Teach a Topic ... 3 strands to understanding or appreciating any mathematical topic: cognitive, affective and enactive components, aka awareness, emotion and behaviour.
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cognitive

Cognitive (awareness): What images and associations are part of this topic? What connections with other topics? [see also concept images] What other topics are needed in this topic? What are the obstacles that learners often encounter? What misconceptions often appear? What previous awarenesses can be made use of?
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affective

Affective (emotion): what were the root problems which turned into this topic, which this topic resolves? Historically, where did this topic come from? Why is it in the curriculum? In what other contexts might this topic be encountered or be relevant?

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enactive

Enactive (behaviour): what patterns of language are used in this topic? What technical terms are used? How are they related to everyday usage of the same or similar words and phrases? What techniques are part of this topic. What sorts of tasks are used to assess learner competence? What problems might really probe understanding?
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LGE

Learner-Constructed Examples Learners can be given opportunities to express their creativity and to make choices for themselves by being asked to construct objects meeting certain constraints. In the process, learners display some of the dimensions of possible variation and associated ranges of permissible change of which they are aware. Asking them to construct another and another ... may prompt them to explore the boundaries of their confidence and so extend the range of examples of which they are aware and with which they are confident ...

Johnston-Wilder & Mason (2005) p.255
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references

Johnston-Wilder, S. & Mason, J. (eds.) (2005). Developing Thinking in Geometry. London, Open University & Paul Chapman Publishing. Mason, J., Graham, A. & Johnston-Wilder, S. (2005). Developing Thinking in Algebra. London, Open University & Paul Chapman Publishing. Graham, A. (2006). Developing Thinking in Statistics. London, Open University & Paul Chapman Publishing.

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Untitled

Mason, J. & Johnston-Wilder, S. (2006). Designing and Using Mathematical Tasks. St. Albans: Tarquin. Watson, A. and Mason, J. (2005) Mathematics as a constructive activity: learners generating examples. Mahwah, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

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Untitled

Mason, J. & Johnston-Wilder, S. (2004). Fundamental Constructs in Mathematics Education. New York, NY: RoutledgeFalmer.
http://library.hku.hk/record=b3465301 [netLibrary, HKUL]

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changes

In recent years pupils in the high school on the average are noticeably more immature than they were ten years ago. The subject matter also of geometry has been changed, and to a certain extent vocationalized and humanized. These changes call for modifications in class-room methods of teaching geometry, in order to obtain maximum results. It is hoped that the suggestions which follow may help to meet the new situation.

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changes

While the mind of the average high school pupil is immature and occupied with many interesting concrete things such as movie, kodak, and automobile, it is also alert, eager, and quick to grow when interested. Hence the best general course to follow in teaching such pupils is to give them at the outset, a large amount of simple and easily appreciated work. This arouses natural growth processes in their minds, so that in time, and often without serious effort, they develop the power to do more difficult work and form an active appetite for it.

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Godfrey

Study of Early Geometry Textbooks
Fujita, T. & Jones, K.(2003) The Place of Experimental Tasks in Geometry Teaching: Learning from the Textbooks Design of the Early 20th Century. Research in Mathematics Education, 5, (1&2), 47-62. Fujita, T. & Jones, K. (2002) The Bridge between Practical and Deductive Geometry: Developing the 'Geometrical Eye'. In Cockburn, A. D. and Nardi, E. (eds.) Proceedings of the 26th Conference of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education (PME26). Norwich, England, PME, 384-391.
eprints soton ac uk 2003 Fujita-1

eprints soton ac uk 2002 Fujita-1

Jones, K. and Fujita, T. (2002) The Design Of Geometry Teaching: learning from the geometry textbooks of Godfrey and Siddons, Proceedings of the British Society for Research into Learning Mathematics, 22 (2), 13-18.

eprints soton ac uk 2002 Fujita

Fujita, T. (2001) The Use of Practical and Experimental Tasks in Geometry Teaching: A Study of Textbooks by Godfrey and Siddons. In Winter, J. (Ed.) Proceedings of the British Society for Research into Learning Mathematics 21(3), 31-36.
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bsrlm org uk 2001 Fujita

scrap

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main

Godfrey & Siddons (in Fujita & Jones) ● geometrical eye: the power of seeing geometrical properties detach themselves from a figure ● question the strict distinction between experimental and deductive geometry ● place of practical and experimental tasks ● dual nature of geometry: a theoretical domain vs an area of practical experience

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chasm

Fujita & Jones (2003)
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transition

In a number of countries, the early stages of geometry in schools comprise practical activities such as the drawing and measurement of geometrical figures. Later stages of schooling are then devoted to deductive geometry. While this is somewhat in line with the van Hiele (1986) model of learning in geometry, the relationship between practical and deductive geometry remains unclear, and, in particular, the transition between them is one of the major concerns in the study of the teaching of geometry.
Fujita, T. & Jones, K. (2002) p.389
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altitude

1921 Godfrey

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comment

Fujita & Jones (2003)
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chord

1921 Godfrey

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comment

Fujita, T. & Jones, K. (2002) p.389
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old books

Geometry Books from The Internet Archive

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Durell 1921

Suggestions on the Teaching of Geometry F. Durell (1921)
http://www.archive.org/details/ suggestionsontea00durerich

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Willis 1922

Plane Geometry; experiment, classification, discovery, application .. Willis (1922)

Parts of Triangles

p.50

http://www.archive.org/details/planegeometryexp00willrich
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triangle angles

Properties of the angles of a triangle

p.51
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triangles

pp.63-64
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Campbell 1899

Campbell (1899)

http://www.archive.org/details/observationalgeo00camprich
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prism

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triangles

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Hedrick 1916

Constructive Geometry; exercises in elementary geometric drawing E. R. Hedrick (1916)

http://www.archive.org/details/constructivegeom00hedriala
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Untitled

p.25
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Untitled

p.25
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Untitled

p.26
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Untitled

p.26
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Untitled

p.26
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Kerr

J. G. Kerr

http://www.archive.org/details/constructivegeom00hedriala
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square it

Square It!
http://nrich.maths.org/public/viewer.php?obj_id=2526&part=2526

Other Geoboard Activities in nrich:
http://nrich.maths.org/public/search.php?search=geoboard
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Untitled

218

The National Strategies | Secondary Mathematics exemplification: Y7 Transformations and coordinates
As outcomes, Year 7 pupils should, for example:

GEOMETRY AND MEASURES
Pupils should learn to:

Use coordinates in all four quadrants

Use, read and write, spelling correctly: row, column, coordinates, origin, x-axis, y-axis… position, direction… intersecting, intersection… Read and plot points using coordinates in all four quadrants.
y-axis second quadrant third quadrant first quadrant fourth quadrant The origin is the point of intersection of the x-axis with the y-axis. x-axis

Given an outline shape drawn with straight lines on a coordinate grid (all four quadrants), state the points for a partner to connect in order to replicate the shape. Plot points determined by geometric information. For example: On this grid, players take turns to name and then mark a point in their own colour. Each point can be used only once.
3 2 1
–3 –2 –1 –1 –2 –3

0

1 2 3

Game 1 The loser is the rst to have 3 points in their own colour in a straight line in any direction. Game 2 Players take turns to mark points in their own colour until the grid is full. Each player then identi es and records 4 points in their own colour forming the four corners of a square. The winner is the player who identi es the greatest number of di erent squares. The points (–3, 1) and (2, 1) are two points of the four vertices of a rectangle. Suggest coordinates of the other two vertices. Find the perimeter and area of the rectangle. Plot these three points: (1, 3), (–2, 2), (–1, 4). What fourth point will make: a. a kite? b. a parallelogram? c. an arrowhead? Justify your decisions. Is it possible to make a rectangle? Explain why or why not. Use ‘plot’ and ‘line’ on a graphical calculator to draw shapes. Draw your initials on the screen. Draw a shape with re ection symmetry around the y-axis. In geography, interpret and use grid references, drawing on knowledge of coordinates.
00366-2008PDF-EN-01 © Crown copyright 2008

http://www.standards.dcsf.gov.uk/secondary/framework/maths/fwsm/soefrc
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p.218

nrich

Virtual Geoboard, Tilted Square, Square Coordinates

http://nrich.maths.org/public/viewer.php?obj_id=2883&part=2883 http://nrich.maths.org/public/viewer.php?obj_id=2293&part=2293 http://nrich.maths.org/public/viewer.php?obj_id=2667&part=2667
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Thornton

New Approaches to Algebra:
Have We Missed the Point?
S T E P H E N J. T H O R N T O N United States and Australia, characterized by such documents as Curriculum and Evaluation Standards for School Mathematics (NCTM 1989) and A National Statement on Mathematics for Australian Schools (AEC 1991), have challenged the conventional view of algebra as formal structure, arguing that algebra is fundamentally the study of patterns and relationships. Increased emphasis has been given to developing an understanding of variables, expressions, and equations and to presenting informal methods of solving equations. The emphasis on symbol manipulation and on drill and practice in solving equations has decreased (NCTM 1989). Has the net effect of these changes been merely to replace one kind of procedural knowledge with another? This article looks at three approaches to algebra: (1) a patterns approach, in which students are asked to generalize a relationship; (2) a symbolic approach, in which students learn to manipulate algebraic expressions; and (3) a functions approach, which emphasizes generation and interpretation of graphs. This article examines the nature of thinking inherent in each approach and asks whether any or all of these approaches are, in
STEVE THORNTON, stevet@amt.canberra.edu.au, is director of teacher development at the Australian Mathematics Trust, University of Canberra, Australia 2601. His interests include mathematical rigor and enrichment for talented students.

form m = 3s + k, and suggesting that students try a few numbers to determine the value of the constant. The students regard this approach as good teaching because it helps them obtain the correct answer. The teacher is similarly reinforced in the belief that he or she is acting in the students’ best interests, because the students are able to find the rule for this pattern and, perhaps, even a general rule for other linear cases. The ability to find these rules is, arguably, a useful skill, but do the students understand any more about the nature of algebra than if the subject had been introduced in a formal, symbolic way? Students who use this heuristic to find the constant and thus the general rule have, in reality, looked at the specific rather than the general. They have not necessarily acquired any welldeveloped notion of the general nature of the pattern but have merely learned a procedure to develop a correct symbolic expression. The algebraic essence of the problem is absent. The Matchstick Pattern Problem is not about finding a general rule. The answer to the problem, Pattern built of one match plus three for each square, or m = 3s + 1

C

URRICULUM

MOVEMENTS

IN

THE

themselves, sufficient to generate powerful algebraic reasoning.

The Patterns Approach, or “Matchstick Algebra”
middle school is typified by the matchstick pattern shown in figure 1. Faced with this problem, students almost invariably describe the rule as “add 3.” Most students look at the table of values horizontally, observing that each time a square is added, the number of matches needed increases by three. Well-intentioned teachers often help students find a general rule from this observation, saying, for example, that if one adds 3 each time, the rule is of the Examine the following pattern, complete the table, and find a rule that shows how the number of matches (m) depends on the number of squares (s).
THE PATTERNS APPROACH TO ALGEBRA IN THE

Pattern built of four matches for the first square plus three for each subsequent square, or m = 4 + 3(s – 1)

Pattern built of two horizontal rows joined by vertical links, or m = 2s + (s + 1)

that is, the rule itself, is unimportant. The problem is really about alternative representations. It is a visualization exercise in which different ways of looking at the pattern produce different expressions. Visualizing the pattern in different ways and writing corresponding algebraic relationships help students understand the nature of a variable and become familiar with the structure of algebraic expressions. This particular pattern can be visualized in at least four different ways (see fig. 2). Writing down the number pattern in a table, an activity commonly found in textbooks and on worksheets, does not help students visualize the generality inherent in the matchstick constructions. A much more constructive approach is to ask students to build one element of the pattern physically and explain how it is put together, not in terms of numbers but in terms of its underlying physical structure. The different algebraic structures then have direct physical meanings. Numerous other visual approaches to algebra are possible (Nelsen 1993). For example, students could be asked to visualize the pattern shown in figure 3 in different ways so as to generate a relationship between the number of shaded squares (b) and the length of the side of the white square (n). Again, at least four different representations are possible (see fig. 4). The point of the exercise is not to obtain the answer b = 4n + 4 or any of its variants but rather to understand how the pattern can be visualized and how these different visualizations can be described symbolically. If we are to foster powerful algebraic thinking in our students, we must encourage a variety of well-justified generalizations of the pattern. Rather than be an end in itself, the purpose of generating rules is to develop insight into patterns and relationships. As Gardner (1973, p. 114) writes, “There is no more effective aid in understanding certain algebraic identities than a good diagram. One should, of course, know how to manipulate algebraic symbols to obtain proofs, but in many cases a dull proof can be supplemented by a geometric analogue so simple and beautiful that the truth of a theorem is almost seen at a glance.”

s m

1 4

2 7

3 10

4

5

100

Pattern built of four matches for each square, with the overlapping match removed from all but one of the squares, or m = 4s – (s – 1)

The Symbolic Approach, or “Fruit Salad Algebra”
THE FORMAL, SYMBOLIC

Rule: m = ________
Fig. 1 Matchstick pattern Fig. 2 Different ways to visualize the matchstick pattern

approach to algebra, in which variables are defined as letters that stand for numbers, has been criticized as lacking meaning (Chalouh and Herscovics 1988) and has been identified as the source of many difficulties faced by beginning algebra students (Booth 1988). Olivier
VOL. 6, NO. 7 . MARCH 2001

388

MATHEMATICS TEACHING IN THE MIDDLE SCHOOL Copyright © 2001 The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, Inc. www.nctm.org. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed electronically or in any other format without written permission from NCTM.

389

Thornton, S. J. New approaches to algebra: have we missed the point?. Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School v. 6 no. 7 (March 2001) p. 388-92 [http://library.hku.hk/record=b2014009~S6]
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outline

New Approaches to Algebra:
Have We Missed the Point?
S T E P H E N J. T H O R N T O N

Thornton (2001)

C

United States and Australia, characterized by such documents as Curriculum and Evaluation Standards for School Mathematics (NCTM 1989) and A National Statement on Mathematics for Australian Schools (AEC 1991), have challenged the conventional view of algebra as formal structure, arguing that algebra is fundamentally the study of patterns and relationships. Increased emphasis has been given to developing an understanding of variables, expressions, and equations and to presenting informal methods of solving equations. The emphasis on symbol manipulation and on drill and practice in solving equations has decreased (NCTM 1989). Has the net effect of these changes been merely to replace one kind of procedural knowledge with another? This article looks at three approaches to algebra: (1) a patterns approach, in which students are asked to generalize a relationship; (2) a symbolic approach, in which students learn to manipulate algebraic expressions; and (3) a functions approach, which emphasizes generation and interpretation of graphs. This article examines the nature of thinking inherent in each approach and asks whether any or all of these approaches are, in
STEVE THORNTON, stevet@amt.canberra.edu.au, is director of teacher development at the Australian Mathematics Trust, University of Canberra, Australia 2601. His interests include mathematical rigor and enrichment for talented students.

URRICULUM

MOVEMENTS

IN

THE

themselves, sufficient to generate powerful algebraic reasoning.

The Patterns Approach, or “Matchstick Algebra”
THE PATTERNS APPROACH TO ALGEBRA IN THE

middle school is typified by the matchstick pattern shown in figure 1. Faced with this problem, students almost invariably describe the rule as “add 3.” Most students look at the table of values horizontally, observing that each time a square is added, the number of matches needed increases by three. Well-intentioned teachers often help students find a general rule from this observation, saying, for example, that if one adds 3 each time, the rule is of the Examine the following pattern, complete the table, and find a rule that shows how the number of matches (m) depends on the number of squares (s).

compare multiple ways of seeing

s m

1 4

2 7

3 10

4

5

100

Rule: m = ________
Fig. 1 Matchstick pattern

388

MATHEMATICS TEACHING IN THE MIDDLE SCHOOL Copyright © 2001 The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, Inc. www.nctm.org. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed electronically or in any other format without written permission from NCTM.

pattern

structure of algebraic expressions

compare different expressions purpose for symbolic manipulation

nature of variable

Approaches to Algebra

fruit salad algebra symbolic express generality multiple representations

function

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matchstick

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Untitled

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Untitled

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Untitled

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expressions

The Matchstick Pattern Problem is not about finding a general rule. The answer to the problem, that is, the rule itself, is unimportant. The problem is really about alternative representations. It is a visualization exercise in which different ways of looking at the pattern produce different expressions. Visualizing the pattern in different ways and writing corresponding algebraic relationships help students understand the nature of a variable and become familiar with the structure of algebraic expressions. This particular pattern can be visualized in at least four different ways.
Thornton (2001) p.389
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expressions

Writing down the number pattern in a table, an activity commonly found in textbooks and on worksheets, does not help students visualize the generality inherent in the matchstick constructions. A much more constructive approach is to ask student to build one element of the pattern physically and explain how it is put together, not in terms of numbers but in terms of its underlying physical structure. The different algebraic structures then have direct physical meaning.

Thornton (2001) p.389
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NNS

Examples from The Framework for Secondary Mathematics (UK)

http://www.standards.dcsf.gov.uk/secondary/framework/strands/881/67/17690
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NNS

Examples from The Framework for Secondary Mathematics (UK)

different equivalent expressions
http://www.standards.dcsf.gov.uk/secondary/framework/strands/881/67/17690
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NNS

Examples from The Framework for Secondary Mathematics (UK)

http://www.standards.dcsf.gov.uk/secondary/framework/strands/881/67/17690
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NNS

Examples from The Framework for Secondary Mathematics (UK)

http://www.standards.dcsf.gov.uk/secondary/framework/strands/881/67/17690
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NNS

Examples from The Framework for Secondary Mathematics (UK)

http://www.standards.dcsf.gov.uk/secondary/framework/strands/881/67/17690
- 58 -

NNS

Examples from The Framework for Secondary Mathematics (UK)

http://www.standards.dcsf.gov.uk/secondary/framework/strands/881/67/17690
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NNS

Examples from The Framework for Secondary Mathematics (UK)

http://www.standards.dcsf.gov.uk/secondary/framework/strands/881/67/17690
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distance

Distance Formula

http://www.geogebra.org/en/upload/files/arthur/distance_formula.html
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which is steeper

Which is steeper?

http://www.geogebra.org/en/upload/files/arthur/steeper.html
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slope

Slope Formula

http://www.geogebra.org/en/upload/files/arthur/slope_formula.html
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task

At the end of a lesson introducing the formula for slope of straight line, this question is suggested for homework or classwork.

Find x if the slope of the line joining A(1,2) and B(x,4) is1/2.

Comment?

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task

How about this one?

Find a point B so that the slope of the line joining B and A(1,2) is 1/2.
How can student answer this? What can they learn from this exercise?

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task

Find a point B so that the slope of the line joining B and A(1,2) is 1/2.
Can students make some sketches, tables?

consider drawing on grids:

http://web.hku.hk/~amslee/it07/Assets/F71824C5/blank_grid.html
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task

Find a point B so that the distance between B and A(1,2) is 5.
Can students make some sketches, tables?

http://web.hku.hk/~amslee/it07/Assets/F71824C5/blank_grid.html
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task

Find a point B so that the distance between B and A(1,2) is 5.
Comparing distance and slope

http://web.hku.hk/~amslee/it07/Assets/F71824C5/blank_grid.html
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section

Section Formula

What is common among this formula and the previous two?
http://www.geogebra.org/en/upload/files/arthur/060518a1.html
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