Leveraging Dynamic and Dependable Spreadsheets Focusing on Algebraic Thinking and Reasoning

Margaret L. Niess (Oregon State University, USA)
Copyright: © 2015 |Pages: 23
EISBN13: 9781466680876|DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-6497-5.ch001
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Algebraic thinking and reasoning are important skills for students to develop as they transition from arithmetic to algebra. The Common Core State Standards for Mathematics links these ideas through their mathematical practices where students make sense of mathematical problems, reason abstractly, model with mathematics, and use appropriate tools that engage them in algebraic thinking and reasoning. This chapter focuses on how a specific tool—the spreadsheet—supports students in building their understandings of spreadsheet features and capabilities while also engaging them in thinking more logically about numbers as needed in preparation for formal algebra. The challenge for teachers is to scaffold students' learning about and with spreadsheets as mathematics learning tools for exploring patterns, variables, and linear problems. This chapter describes this transition through multiple problems where students learn to design dynamic and dependable spreadsheets in ways that concurrently develop their algebraic reasoning and thinking through middle grades mathematics problems.
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