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Hands On Activities for Algebra at College

James Sandefur Rosalie Dance
Georgetown University University of the Virgin Islands



This site contains mathematics lesson units requiring active student involvement. They are designed for use in developmental mathematics courses at colleges (perhaps called elementary algebra, intermediate algebra, and pre-calculus), or for the corresponding high school courses. These units are easy to download.

Each unit contains a complete package for students. In most cases, there is a reading assignment to be completed beforehand, in-class investigations, and homework to follow. You will find a Teacher's Guide for each unit discussing the mathematical content of the activities and pedagogical suggestions for optimal use of the lesson. Each teacher's guide provides a complete set of answers for the questions in the student materials.

Many of the units are mathematical investigations set in contexts that will usually provide new information of interest to students in the context itself, such as studying the problem of lead poisoning or the relationship between sickle cell anemia and malaria. This is intended to help students see that the mathematics they are learning now can be used to help solve significant real problems. It is expected that investigations in context will also help students whose learning style is holistic relate to the analytic methods of mathematics. Units in a context with real significance will be marked with (Real).

Some units include hands-on activities using concrete objects to help students develop a better understanding of basic algebraic concepts. These units will be marked with (Hands-On). A few of the hands-on units are real enough, but their contexts lack the physical importance of other units!  See our pedagogical page for more information about our approach to modeling and learning mathematics.

If you have any comments, please contact Jim Sandefur or Rosalie Dance.

© 1999.

This project was supported, in part, by the National Science Foundation. Opinions expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the Foundation.

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