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[...] 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.
© ATM 2009 • No reproduction (including Internet) except for legitimate academic purposes • firstname.lastname@example.org for permissions. 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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