Toy Stories: Modeling Rates

  • Toy Stories: Modeling Rates

    Patricia E. Swanson
    Using wind-up toys to compare distance over time gave these children a stake in understanding how the numbers make sense.
    Elementary school mathematics is increasingly recognized for its crucial role in developing the foundational skills and understandings for algebra. Among the most challenging of these concepts is the relationship between two variables—co-variation—as represented by a series of ratios comparing two quantities, paired values on a T-table, or points on a graph. Each of these representations tells a story of two quantities, or measures, and how they are related; but the story is poorly understood by many students (Lobato and Thanheiser 2002).
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