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Developing Meaning for Algebraic Symbols: Possibilities and Pitfalls

John Lannin; Brian Townsend; Nathan Armer; Savanna Green; Jessica Schneider 

April 2008, Volume 13, Issue 8, Page 478

Abstract:
Developing meaning for the mathematical symbols used in formal algebra. It  describes the development progress of four fifth-grade students. Computer spreadsheet software assisted students. Analysis of development in the movement from verbal expressions to syncopated expressions and into the use of formal algebraic symbols is presented and strategies are provided to deepen student understanding of the symbol's meaning.

Keywords:
Article
Conceptual Development
Grades 6-8
Connections / Applications
Math Coordinator / Coach
Teacher
Skill and Fluency
Representation