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April 2003, Volume 8, Issue 8


A Unifying Theme
Idorenyin Jamar and Lynda Wiest
Introduction to the April 2003 MTMS issue on proportionality in middle-grades mathematics.

Proportionality: A Unifying Theme for the Middle Grades
Cynthia S. Lanius and Susan E. Williams
Middle school mathematics topics are often taught as separate, discrete topics without a unifying thread. Proportionality is a concept with the potential to untie, relate, and clarify many important, complex middle grades into a cohesive theme.

Read how you can use this journal article as a Professional Development Experience.

Improving Middle School Teachers' Reasoning about Proportional Reasoning
Charles S. Thompson and William S. Bush
Article describes a professional development project to increase teachers' understanding of proportional reasoning, the thinking patterns associated with proportional reasoning, and the applications of proportional reasoning across the middle-grades curriculum.

The Giants Project
Suzanne Levin Weinberg, Penny L. Hammrich, and Matthew H. Bruce
Article describes a professional development program for upper elementary and middle school teachers, which includes a sequence of four activities designed to foster improved understanding of the connections among measurement, ratio, scale, and proportion. Activity sheets and directions are included.

Crossing the Bridge to Formal Proportional Reasoning
Suzanne Chapin and Nancy Anderson
Article describes how seventh-grade students were transitioned from using informal, conceptual methods to solve proportion problems to using a formal procedure. Sample problems and solution discussions included.

Conceptualizing Ratios with Look-Alike Polygons
Nancy K. Dwyer, Betty J. Causey-Lee, and Nekeya M. Irby
Article describes using similar rectangles to help children conceptualize ratio relationships in several different ways. Proportional reasoning is developed without introducing the process of cross-multiplication. Activity is included.

Using a Pattern Table to Solve Contextualized Proportion Problems
Janet M. Shart and Barbara Adams
Article describes a week-long unit developed around a student's proportion question. After learning about patterning tables and solidifying the concept of "for every", students were successful at solving the problem situations.

The Legend of Paul Bunyan
David Buhl, Mark Oursland, and Kristin Finco
Article describes classroom activities which measure various components of the legend of Paul Bunyan. Measurements are used to focus on scale factors in distance, area, and volume. Activity sheets included.


Readers Write
Readers Write - April 2003

Food for thought from Jay’s Diner
Food for Thought from Jay's Diner: Married People

Menu of Problems
Menu of Problems - April 2003