Thursday, July 7, 2011
Math 1510/ Is it a good idea to use words instead of variables for prealgebra?
Let's face it. As a future teacher, one of my main goals is not only to have students understand math problems, but to also retain the materials for events to come. This includes more math classes that are inevitable and real word applications.
Students do not learn from worksheets alone. Working on paper can often become boring and tedious. I have learned this from my own experiences. If we want students to gain long term retention, we need to link any kind of information to help students create a better understanding of math problems. If using words instead of variables in algebra problem solving develops comprehension in students, why not use them?
I feel that involving students in choosing different words to relate to an algebra problem is an effective and efficient way in guiding students to a better understanding of math problems. Try having students write their own words that make sense to them personally. If a student feels comfortable, have them show the other students, with their own words, how they got their answer.
I know that I have felt just like this kitten when it comes to algebra. I hope to help students gain a better understand of algebra, whether with words or other means, so that they don't have to feel this way too!!