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Overview
Learning Math: Patterns, Functions, and Algebra
 

A video- and Web-based course on basic concepts of algebra for K-8 teachers; 9 half-hour and 1 one-hour video programs, course guide, and Web site; graduate credit available

Now on DVD

Learning Math: Patterns, Functions, and Algebra is the first of five video- and Web-based mathematics courses for elementary and middle school teachers. These courses, organized around the content standards of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM), will help you better understand the mathematics concepts underlying the content that you teach.

Patterns, Functions, and Algebra explores the "big ideas" in algebraic thinking, such as finding, describing, and using patterns; using functions to make predictions; understanding linearity and proportional reasoning; understanding non-linear functions; and understanding and exploring algebraic structure. The concluding case studies show you how to apply what you have learned in your own classroom. The course consists of 10 two-and-a-half hour sessions with a half-hour of video programming each, problem-solving activities available in print and on the Web, and class discussions.

Produced by WGBH Educational Foundation. 2002.

Closed Caption     ISBN: 1-57680-469-0


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Individual Program Descriptions

VODVideo 1. Algebraic Thinking
Begin to explore what it means to think algebraically and learn to use algebraic thinking skills to make sense of different situations. This session covers describing situations through pictures, charts, graphs, and words; interpreting and drawing conclusions from graphs; and creating graphs to match written descriptions of real-life situations. Go to this unit.

VODVideo 2. Patterns in Context
Explore the processes of finding, describing, explaining, and predicting using patterns. Topics covered include how to determine if patterns in tables are uniquely described and how to distinguish between closed and recursive descriptions. This session also introduces the idea that there are many different conceptions of what algebra is. Go to this unit.

VODVideo 3. Functions and Algorithms
Investigate algorithms and functions. Topics covered include the importance of doing and undoing in mathematics, determining when a process can or cannot be undone, using function machines to picture and undo algorithms, and the unique outputs produced by functions. Go to this unit.

VODVideo 4. Proportional Reasoning
Look at direct variation and proportional reasoning. This investigation will help you to differentiate between relative and absolute meanings of "more" and to compare ratios without using common denominator algorithms. Topics include differentiating between additive and multiplicative processes and their effects on scale and proportionality, and interpreting graphs that represent proportional relationships or direct variation. Go to this unit.

VODVideo 5. Linear Functions and Slope
Explore linear relationships by looking at lines and slopes. Using computer spreadsheets, examine dynamic dependence and linear relationships and learn to recognize linear relationships expressed in tables, equations, and graphs. Also, explore the role of slope and dependent and independent variables in graphs of linear relationships, and the relationship of rates to slopes and equations. Go to this unit.

VODVideo 6. Solving Equations
Look at different strategies for solving equations. Topics include the different meanings attributed to the equal sign and the strengths and limitations of different models for solving equations. Explore the connection between equality and balance, and practice solving equations by balancing, working backwards, and inverting operations. Go to this unit.

VODVideo 7. Non-Linear Functions
Continue exploring functions and relationships with two types of non-linear functions: exponential and quadratic functions. This session reveals that exponential functions are expressed in constant ratios between successive outputs and that quadratic functions have constant second differences. Work with graphs of exponential and quadratic functions and explore exponential and quadratic functions in real-life situations. Go to this unit.

VODVideo 8. More Non-Linear Functions
Investigate more non-linear functions, focusing on cyclic and reciprocal functions. Become familiar with inverse proportions and cyclic functions, develop an understanding of cyclic functions as repeating outputs, work with graphs, and explore contexts where inverse proportions and cyclic functions arise. Explore situations in which more than one function may fit a particular set of data. Go to this unit.

VODVideo 9. Algebraic Structure
Take a closer look at "algebraic structure" by examining the properties and processes of functions. Explore important concepts in the study of algebraic structure, discover new algebraic structures, and solve equations in these new structures. Go to this unit.

VODVideo 10. Classroom Case Studies, Grades K-2
Explore how the concepts developed in Patterns, Functions, and Algebra can be applied at different grade levels. Using video case studies, observe what teachers do to develop students' algebraic thinking and investigate ways to incorporate algebra into K-8 mathematics curricula. This video is for the K-2 grade band. Go to this unit.

VODVideo 11. Classroom Case Studies, Grades 3-5
Explore how the concepts developed in Patterns, Functions, and Algebra can be applied at different grade levels. Using video case studies, observe what teachers do to develop students' algebraic thinking and investigate ways to incorporate algebra into K-8 mathematics curricula. This video is for the 3-5 grade band. Go to this unit.

VODVideo 12. Classroom Case Studies, Grades 6-8
Explore how the concepts developed in Patterns, Functions, and Algebra can be applied at different grade levels. Using video case studies, observe what teachers do to develop students' algebraic thinking and investigate ways to incorporate algebra into K-8 mathematics curricula. This video is for the 6-8 grade band. Go to this unit.

 

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