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Using Grid Algebra


[...] the projector failed and I quickly instructed the pupils to draw blank grids in their notebooks and asked them to predict the numbers in the destination cells when the starting point was identified. The third lesson saw the introduction of letters in the tasks which seemed to necessitate collaborative activity as the pupils paired up to complete tasks like writing a required number of equivalent expressions.

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Using Grid Algebra
Mary Lugalia describes using Grid Algebra with Year 8 pupils.

As part of my course in ‘Digital                 involving the pupils as much as possible.          equivalent expressions. During the fourth
Technology and Mathematical Thinking’,           After the introduction, the subject                lesson, the pupils continued to share
I carried out a project with a group of          teacher would ask the pupils to move to            their ideas with each other as they worked
Year 8 pupils using the Grid Algebra             the side worktops to access the software.          through each task.
software in their mathematics lessons.           The pupils would embark on the activities              The Grid Algebra software gives the
My aim was to find out, to what extent,          prescribed in the tasks as the subject             pupils instant feedback on the screen in
the software can be used to enable pupils        teacher and I moved around the room.               the following form: peeled-back corners,
to become aware of algebraic processes                The first lesson started with me              a red cross or a stop sign combining with
and use of symbols.                              giving a brief description of the software         a bin. This made the pupils consider
     The Grid Algebra software was devel-        and pointing out the various features of           carefully their thoughts, actions and
oped by Dave Hewitt to help learners to          the toolbox. I emphasized the fact that            decision-making. In some tasks, the
learn operations, and algebraic structure,       the grid only accepted whole numbers               software encouraged them to reflect on
in a visual and kinæsthetic manner.              and it represented part of the ‘times-             what they were doing and to correct it
Numbers and letters may be entered into          tables’, with the number appearing on              where they could. The marks and
any cell in a grid and dragged around in         the extreme left of each row. I then gave          comments gave the pupils encouragement
vertical and horizontal movements only           demonstrations involving dragging the              and motivation to move to the next task.
which create expressions. The path traced        cell horizontally only. The pupils were                The pupils learnt that a fraction
as a cell is dragged across the grid deter-      thrilled to see the numbers change value           meant ‘divide the top number by the
mines the final expression the computer          as they were dragged across the grid,              bottom number’. They had also learnt to
writes in the destination cell. This             with movement right representing                   associate different movements across the
software can be used to explore all the          addition, and movement left, subtraction.          grid with the different operations and in
sub-topics of formal algebra.                    At this point, the projector failed and I          turn, to the surprise of their subject
     I was fortunate to be allowed to work       quickly instructed the pupils 
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