The Root of the Problem

  • The Root of the Problem

    Dana L. Grosser-Clarkson
    The absolute value function opens the door to a better way to solve problems involving square roots.
    Square roots arise in many instances in algebra classrooms. Take, for example, a Mathematics Assessment Resource Service (MARS) task entitled “Sorting Equations and Identities”(www.map.mathshell.org).This task asks students to identify whether an equation is always, sometimes, or never true. One example (i.e., card 10), asks students to categorize the equation (x – 6)2 = (6 – x)2.
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