An In-Depth Look
Inquiry-based Algebra curriculum offers real-world applications and cooperative learning
Changes in society and the workplace require a careful analysis of the algebra curriculum that we teach. The curriculum, teaching, and learning of yesterday do not meet the needs of today's students.
Mathematics in Real-Life Contexts
- Students work with real data, real-life situations, and real-world applications to realize the value and enjoyment of learning mathematics.
- Innovative classrooms incorporate investigations, experiments, and cooperative learning.
- Students approach traditional and contemporary algebra topics from many different perspectives, exploring concepts informally and intuitively before seeing algebra in its abstract, symbolic representations.
- Students use technology, such as graphing calculators, computers, and electronic data-collection devices, to explore problems, ideas, and concepts from different viewpoints in a learning environment that encourages a spirit of discovery.
- The coherent nature of the content structure enables students to see the connections between families of functions.
- Students use both technology-related and paper-and-pencil problem-solving tools.
- Explorations and investigations emphasize symbol sense, algebraic manipulations, and conceptual understandings.
- Students make sense of important algebraic concepts, learn essential algebraic skills, and discover how to use algebra as a practical and flexible tool.
Important Benefits of Discovering Advanced Algebra
- Encourages students to make sense of numbers, variables, expressions, equations, and algebraic "laws" in contextual situations
- Prepares students for additional study of mathematics, science, and courses rich in data analysis and statistics, in high school and beyond
- Allows students to work with real-life data, situations, and applications
- Integrates algebra with geometry, statistics, data analysis, functions, probability, and trigonometry
- Emphasizes inquiry, problem solving, mathematics investigation, writing, discussion, and cooperative learning
- Integrates graphing calculator technology, with specific instructions for the Texas Instruments TI-83 Plus, TI-84 Plus, TI-Nspire, and TI-Nspire CAS graphing calculators, to develop a powerful, meaningful, and useful mathematics content and process
- Provides optional opportunities for in-depth explorations using Dynamic Mathematics software, with specific instructions for The Geometer's Sketchpad® and Fathom® Dynamic Data software
- Provides a hands-on, investigative approach that is easily adapted for multiple periods or block scheduling, sustaining students' interest for 90 minutes, as they set up, complete, and discuss the investigations
- Embodies an algebra curriculum that is consistent with the NCTM Principles and Standards for School Mathematics
- Is highly adaptable to different teaching styles and curricular needs