Teaching absolute value of an integer

The tasks below are for deepening students’ understanding about the absolute value of a number and provide a context for creating a need for learning operations with integers. You may give the problems  after you have introduced the students the idea of absolute value of an integer and before the lesson on operations with integers. Tasks…

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What is an integer?

Here are some ideas pupils need to learn about integers: •A number represents a quantity. An integer is a type of number. An integer represents a quantity. •Integers are useful in representing quantities and includes opposite sense. For example, going up 5 floors and going down 5 floors can be represented by +5 and -5…

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What is algebraic thinking?

In my post Arithmetic and Algebra, I wrote that it’s how you solve a problem that tells whether you are doing algebra or arithmetic, not the problem itself. Here’s a description of algebraic thinking that I think teachers in elementary school mathematics might find useful especially when they are teaching about numbers and number operations:…

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Levels of understanding of function in equation form

There are at least three representational systems used to study function: graphs, tables and equations. But unlike graphs and tables that are used to visually show the relationships between two varying quantities, students first experience with equation is not as a representation of function but a statement which state the condition on a single unknown quantity.  Also,…

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Algebra vs Arithmetic Thinking

Algebra had always been associated with high school mathematics while arithmetic, the study of numbers, is associated with elementary school mathematics. One of the solutions to help students understand algebra in high school is to start the study of algebra earlier hence the elementary school curriculum incorporated some content topics traditionally studied in high school….

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