Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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RepresentationSession 05 Overviewtab atab bTab ctab dtab eReference
Part C

Defining Representation
  The Representation Standard | Visual Representations | Tables, Graphs, and Variables | Additional Points | Summary | Your Journal
"Having the technology there so the kids can instantly see these pictures of what's going on . . . means that it becomes more accessible. It's not wrapped up in all of this notation of mathematics."

-- Helen Compton, mathematics teacher

  The Role of the Teacher

The teacher's role in setting the classroom environment for the Representation Standard is similar to the other process standards. Selecting rich mathematical tasks that utilize a variety of representations is the first step. As students work to complete the task, they communicate with one another to select appropriate representations that will help them see relationships. The teacher poses questions that help students move from non-conventional to conventional representations and interpret the mathematical ideas that develop from those representations.

The Role of Technology

An additional consideration in working with various representations in the middle grades is the role of technology. Students who are developing tables and seeing patterns can apply that knowledge to a spreadsheet. As students transfer their work from their own table to a spreadsheet, they begin to think about expressions that will enable them to utilize the technology to extend their tables and generalize patterns. The use of graphing calculators also enables students to explore how changing one variable in a problem affects the outcome. Dynamic geometry software gives students opportunities to explore geometric properties with graphic representations on the computer. Technology offers multiple opportunities for students to represent and develop mathematical concepts in the middle grades.

An additional resource is the World Wide Web. Interactive activities, such as the "e-examples" on the NCTM Web site, use technology to represent mathematical ideas in an accessible, hands-on way. These activities can also be considered for use in your classroom. For additional information about technology, see the Reference Section.

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