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Discovering Advanced Algebra
An Investigative Approach

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