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SABES Math Bulletin: Building Research Into Practice, Volume 3, Issue 3

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Algebra! The cry to teach and learn algebra is being heard across the nation. The National Math Advisory Panel, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM), and even politicians are declaring a mandate for every U.S. student to learn algebra in order to better prepare for the world of work in the years ahead. This year, in fact, the Adult Numeracy Network (ANN) chose algebra as its central topic for discussion at its Annual Meeting (a COABE pre-session on April 18 in Louisville, KY). ANN recognizes that adult education students, many of whom aspire to further training or college work, may be able to pass the GED without understanding the mathematics of relationships and equations; but are likely to find ‘next steps’ challenging, if not impossible, without the mathematics of algebra.

In order to be effective algebra teachers, many adult education math teachers need to better understand the complex and ever-expanding field of mathematics we call “algebra.”

In this issue, we attempt to share some basic information about algebra, including historical background, information about variables and equations, and we share some of Mark Driscoll’s thoughts about algebraic thinking and the questions essential to developing it. Future issues will continue reviewing research documents to explore algebra, an exploration that humans have pursued for millennia. Please join us on the journey. World Education, 2009.

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