The case of Bruce: A teacher’s model of his students’ algebraic thinking about equivalent expressions. (English)

Math. Educ. Res. J. 18, No. 1, 103-123 (2006).

Summary: The purpose of this article is to describe a middle school mathematics teacher’s model of his students’ responses to algebraic tasks involving equivalent expressions and the distributive property. The teacher engaged in two model-eliciting activities designed for teachers by creating a library of his students’ work and an accompanying "Ways of Thinking"[WOT] sheet (Doerr \& Lesh, 2003). These activities were designed to help reveal the teachers’ models of students’ algebraic thinking and to promote the development of that model. Results of the analysis showed that the teacher developed a clearer understanding of the role of a variable in algebraic instruction. The teacher employed visual strategies for the first time and began to perceive their usefulness in helping students understand the equivalence of two expressions. (Contains 8 figures.) (ERIC)