ahh
LOGIN / SIGN UP
Te Arapiki Ako
"Towards better teaching & learning"
 

2. Common challenges for learners - "letters have meaning"


Comment on this item  
 
Add to your favourites
Remove from your favourites
Add a note on this item
Recommend to a friend
Comment on this item
Send to printer
Request a reminder of this item
Cancel a reminder of this item
Share |
Last updated 26 October 2012 15:30 by NZTecAdmin

A great deal is known about the difficulties learners have with understanding algebra. Here are some of those difficulties and what you can do about it:

1. Letters have many meanings. Most of them are not the meanings we give them in algebra. Letters are used in everyday life in lots of ways. Some of the ways we use words and the problem that creates are:

a. Letters are used to build words, so some learners believe that the letter b can only represent objects that start with the letter b, like bananas or bicycles. Just to confirm this for learners, scientists often use letters in this way, e.g. In e = mc2, e represents energy. In fact we can use any letter we like to represent a variable.

b. Letters are used to label specific things (eg. Room A, Groups of people, Options or choices). So learners can believe that letters in algebra represent a specific object and that two variables can never have the same value, eg. In , f and g cannot both be 6.

c. Letters are sometimes used to represent a special number. In e = mc2, c represents a specific measure, the speed of light 299,792,458 metres per second.

Another example is π, a greek letter.

Comments

 

There are no comments for this item yet...
Only registered users may comment. Log in to comment

Search this section

Knowing the Demands Knowing the Learner Knowing the What to Do

News feeds

Subscribe to newsletter