Activities for Algebra

Oct 25, 2007 by

I have always tried to teach algebra in a way that is understandable, interesting, and active. Although you can find activities for teaching algebra to younger students (6th and 7th graders), I have never found a good classroom resource to use with adult students. Even in the resources for younger students, the activities always seem more like busywork, when they could provide an opportunity for students to truly understand difficult concepts or explore the similarities and contrasts that abound in mathematical procedures and ideas.

I have enjoyed taking the time to sit down and write what I hope are interesting and useful resources for teaching algebra to adult students. It has grown from a small idea into a behemoth with a life of its own during the writing process, as the pedagogies described in the Teaching Guides continued to force more activities to be written. I am still writing, but there are currently over 500 pages of activities, assessments, and teaching guides.

For their assistance on the Elementary Algebra IRB, I owe a great big thank you to my faithful mathematics assistant, Megan Arthur, who tirelessly filled in a lot of the necessary (but boring) detailed mathematical work and graphics on these activities all summer – without her time and energy, this work would not be a reality today. Also, I extend a grateful thank you to Maryanne Kirkpatrick, who took on the task of doing every single problem in the Elementary Algebra IRB to minimize the errors in its first printing. Maryanne was my first supervisor when I was a wet-behind-the-ears algebra instructor for LCCC and I’m sure she is amused by this turn of events.

The Instructor’s Resource Binder is made up of three main components: Assessments, Teaching Guides, and Activities. Together these three components provide a framework for ensuring a high-quality learning experience in the classroom. None of these assessments or activities are meant to be graded. These are tools to help you to help students to learn concepts and increase the retention of their mathematical learning.

An activity on interval notation…

You can use the activities right now in a “classroom test”… just print and use – send feedback please! There is an entire chapter of activities on Systems of Equations and Inequalities (including one of my favorites, The Moving Walkway Problem on p. 41 inspired by the moving walkways at the Detroit airport).

Also there are sections of other chapters available (the “teasers”):

  • Adding Real Numbers
  • Solving Inequalities
  • Graphing Linear Equations
  • Problem Solving Using Systems of Equations
  • Zero and Negative Exponents
  • A Factoring Strategy
  • Addition and Subtraction of Rational Expressions

Another favorite… Mathematical Heteronyms … mathematical expressions that look similar but are really very different.

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1 Comment

  1. Mighty Meg


    Although I think Behemoth doesn’t begin to describe the way this project grew, it’s awesome to see it coming together! Cheers from your faithful math assistant!

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