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April 2003, Volume 8, Issue 8

 FEATURES A Unifying ThemeIdorenyin Jamar and Lynda WiestIntroduction to the April 2003 MTMS issue on proportionality in middle-grades mathematics. Proportionality: A Unifying Theme for the Middle GradesCynthia S. Lanius and Susan E. WilliamsMiddle 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 ReasoningCharles S. Thompson and William S. BushArticle 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 ProjectSuzanne Levin Weinberg, Penny L. Hammrich, and Matthew H. BruceArticle 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 ReasoningSuzanne Chapin and Nancy AndersonArticle 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 PolygonsNancy K. Dwyer, Betty J. Causey-Lee, and Nekeya M. IrbyArticle 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 ProblemsJanet M. Shart and Barbara AdamsArticle 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 BunyanDavid Buhl, Mark Oursland, and Kristin FincoArticle 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.

 Departments Readers WriteReaders Write - April 2003 Food for thought from Jay’s DinerFood for Thought from Jay's Diner: Married People Menu of ProblemsMenu of Problems - April 2003