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Generalizing: The Core of Algebraic Thinking

The meaningful use of symbols links context and generality.

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Activities for Students: Soap and Slope: Mathematical Adventures in Fluid Dynamics

The mathematical concept of slope can be made real through a set of simple, inexpensive, and safe experiments that can be conducted in the classroom or at home. The experiments help connect the idea of slope with physical phenomena related to surface tension. In the experiments, changes in surface tension across the surface of the water, which correspond to greater slopes on the graph, lead to increased motion of the fluid. The mathematical content, targeted to middle school and high school students, can be used in a classroom or workshop setting and can be tailored to a single session of thirty to ninety minutes.

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Core Conversations with Educative Dragging

The Measure-Trace-Algebratize (MTA) approach allows students to uncover algebraic relationships within familiar geometric objects.

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Delving into Limits of Sequences

Through these calculus activities, students reach an understanding of the formal limit concept in a way that enables them to construct the formal symbolic definition on their own.

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Technology Tips – Piecewise-Defined Functions on the TI–Nspire

Students generally first encounter piecewise–defined functions in the form of a step function (perhaps the postage stamp function) in an algebra class. Piecewise–defined functions do not play a central role in mathematics before calculus although they can serve as challenging examples in the precalculus curriculum. Before the advent of the TI–Nspire, entering piecewise–defined functions on the calculator was time consuming and not particularly user friendly. That has changed.

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Reflections on a Technology–Rich Mathematics Classroom

Integrating technology into the mathematics classroom means more than just new teaching tools—it is an opportunity to redefine what it means to teach and learn mathematics. Yet deciding when a particular form of technology may be appropriate for a specific mathematics topic can be difficult. Such decisions center on what is commonly being referred to as TPACK (Technological Pedagogical and Content Knowledge), the intersection of technology, pedagogy, and content (Niess 2005). Making decisions about technology use influences not only students' conceptual and procedural understandings of mathematics content but also the ways in which students think about and identify with the subject.