Investigating Algebra with Algebra Pieces Book
A great introduction to algebra concepts, the activities in this 52-page resource guide introduce students to the zero principle, polynomials and trinomials.
Having a visual representation of abstract concepts such as algebraic expressions and equations can be the difference between understanding and being lost in confusion. Using a simple set of manipulatives, this book encourages students to investigate and visualize algebraic concepts. The manipulatives consist of three sizes of see-through plastic with two colors each size. The sizes are in relationship to each other. The "units" are 1 mm squares (40 pieces). The x-pieces have a 1 mm width and a length of "x" (24 pieces). The x-square piece is a square with an "x" width (6 pieces). The two colors each allows the student to explore relationships using the pieces. And this is where the book's worksheets come in. Starting simple (representing integers and adding integers), the student is led through subtraction, multiplication and division of integers into representing variables and then into expressions and equations. While the worksheets allow the student to experiment, there are teaching tips that guide the teacher through the lesson: overview, getting ready, words of the day, lesson outline and assessment. At the end of each activity, students are encouraged to "think about this" and often to make journal entries. Activities tend to be designed for pairs but could easily be done by a student working alone. While students are encouraged to explore and experiment, the teacher is going to need to know just a bit of algebra to be comfortable as there are no answer keys or solutions. 48 pgs, pb. ~ Janice