Program & Presentations
The goal of this institute is to provide an interactive professional learning experience that enables participants to understand the growth of algebraic thinking and reasoning across the grades to enable teachers to prepare students for algebra.
The experience will be suited to your interests—you’ll take part in sessions and be grouped with educators according to the grade level you select for your strand of focus. Each strand will experience a progression of activities to address mathematics content related to algebra readiness.
- Grades 6–7
- Grade 8
- PD Strand—NEW! If you are a professional development leader, this new strand is for you. PD Strand participants will attend sessions according to their grade band, and will participate in an additional three-hour session on Day 1. They will also attend a debriefing session at the end of each day. (Note: There is an additional cost for this strand.)
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- Grades 6–8 classroom teachers
- Preservice teachers
Expanded audience for PD Strand:
- Math specialists and coaches
- Math supervisors
- Lead teachers
- Curriculum coordinators
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Activities are designed for you and your peers to achieve defined outcomes together. Participants will—
- understand the foundation that students need to be ready for formal algebra;
- explore tasks and instructional techniques, including questioning strategies that support students’ development of conjectures and generalizations;
- learn instructional strategies that provide all students with opportunities to develop strong algebraic reasoning skills;
- determine the role of the Standards for Mathematical Practice, outlined in the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics, in instructional strategies and assessments; and
- understand how concepts within multiple domains of the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics support algebraic reasoning.
PD Strand Additional Outcome: Participants will—
- examine models of professional development that support teachers as learners, teachers as teachers, and teachers as reflective practitioners.
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Well-known mathematics education leaders will address critical topics related to and supporting algebra readiness.
||Opening Session: Developing Algebraic Thinking in the Spirit of the Standards
Linda Gojak, NCTM President/John Carroll University
In addition to describing the characteristics of a mathematically proficient student, the standards for mathematical practice strongly support the development of algebraic thinking in grades 6–8. Let’s examine the practices with particular attention to how their development contributes to building conceptual understanding of the algebra content standards.
||Closing Session: Algebra Readiness Is More than a Phrase—It Implies Action
Johnny Lott, Retired, University of Montana
The algebra institute provides an impetus to incorporate algebra readiness in your classroom. This session summarizes many topics learned here and pushes forward new ideas while reexamining older ones. Linking patterns learned in grade-school multiplication, applying technology to geometric topics, and exploring statistics techniques and measures all offer opportunities for algebra readiness while considering sense making, reasoning, modeling using tools, and communicating.
Promoting Algebraic Reasoning: The Role of Cognitively Demanding Tasks and Good Questions
Margaret (Peg) Smith, University of Pittsburgh
Learn about the importance of selecting tasks that give students opportunities to engage in algebraic reasoning and how good questions help to ensure that the opportunities become a reality.
Understanding the “What” and “Why” of Algebra
Jon Star, Harvard University
Key to our efforts in preparing students for success in algebra is understanding what algebra is. What is algebra? What are the big ideas of algebra? Why do we teach algebra? Answers to these questions can begin to inform our conversations about readiness for algebra.
Barbara Dougherty, University of Missouri–Columbia
Jessica Ivy, Mississippi State University
Through the professional development strand, middle grades mathematics teacher leaders (those interested in designing and delivering professional development) will explore student work, engage in non-routine problems, discuss evidence of student engagement in mathematical practices, and anticipate student and teacher misconceptions. These experiences will be linked to effective professional development models and their design and implementation components.
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Participants will attend a series of four workshops within their grade-band groups. Workshop leaders will engage participants in hands-on activities focused on developing algebraic reasoning:
The series of sessions for grades 6–7 will focus on concepts related to expressions and equations as fundamental concepts in the development of an understanding of functions. The three components of algebraic reasoning are forming, reasoning with, and applying generalizations. Participants in these sessions will—
- connect concepts, representations, and skills with algebraic expressions to number concepts and skills;
- examine and generalize multiple solution processes for equations and inequalities;
- explore and determine relationships between dependent and independent variables;
- model relationships between and among quantities with equations, inequalities, graphs, tables, diagrams, and natural language; and
- investigate the relationship(s) between proportional reasoning and algebraic concepts, such as slope.
The series of sessions for grade 8 will focus on concepts related to functions that lead to an understanding relationships among quantities represented in multiple ways. The three components of algebraic reasoning are forming, reasoning, and applying generalizations. Participants in these sessions will—
- explore multiple representations of proportional, linear, and nonlinear relationships;
- engage in an inquiry into the explanation and understandings related to the development of the concept of function;
- relate proportional reasoning and slope to representations of linear relationships;
- consider the construction of functions, with a focus on using these constructions to determine and analyze rates of change; and
- investigate different representations of functions and look ahead at how these representations offer connections to other domains.
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Reinforce, expand, and apply what you learn at this Interactive Institute through our new online course, Algebra Readiness for Every Student: Extended Online Professional Development—Grades 6–8.
This course will provide a participatory professional learning experience that will enable middle school mathematics teachers to understand the essential tools of early algebra. Workshops, readings, online keynote addresses, as well as a vibrant and active online community will help teachers deepen their own knowledge of the mathematics that supports formal algebra. The content is based on the book, Developing Essential Understanding of Expressions, Equations & Functions for Teaching Mathematics in Grades 6–8.
This 12-week course can be taken independently or as a supplement to the Interactive Institute. The course is available both Fall 2013 and Spring 2014 semesters for your convenience. Choose the option that best fits your schedule:
- The Fall 2013 online course begins the week of August 19, 2013 and ends by November 17, 2013. Live online sessions will be on Tuesdays at 5:00 p.m. ET. All online sessions last approximately 75 minutes.
- The Spring 2014 online course begins the week of January 20, 2014 and ends by April 20, 2014. Live online sessions will be on Wednesdays at 7:00 p.m. ET. All online sessions last approximately 75 minutes.
Throughout the course, students will be expected to attend and participate weekly. Participants will join live online sessions, engage in online discussion forums, read the assigned text and additional articles, and analyze student work, emphasizing the critical understandings that support formal algebra. View or download the course syllabus (PDF) for more information. Upon registering, students will have the option to take this course for two college credits. Additional fees for the credit option will apply. Learn more about the online course.
The online course is just $25 when you add it to your Interactive Institute registration. To only register for the online course, the cost is $200 for NCTM members, $250 for nonmembers. Visit our Institute Registration page and click the "Register Now" button to register.
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