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Mathematics Matters Lesson Accounts 40 - Algebra Cards

This page has been archived. The content was correct at the time of original publication, but is no longer updated.
Created on 29 May 2008 by ncetm_administrator
Updated on 22 July 2009 by ncetm_administrator

Mathematics Matters Lesson Accounts
A collection of memorable mathematics lessons that conference and colloquia delegates had observed or taught which they felt were successful.  Each account refers to one or more of the values and principles in the report.

Lesson Account 40 - Algebra Cards

Written by Pauline Williams
Organisation Ballakermeen High School
Age/Ability Range Year 9 Mixed ability

How was the session/task introduced?
Previous work already done on solving algebraic equations. Task explained and pupils had to decide on level of difficulty. Class had used matching cards in other sessions.

How was the session/task sustained?
Pupils requested to produce, in pairs / small groups, matching cards. The level of difficulty for the questions was up to them. Matching equation to a solution each time.

How was the session/task concluded?
Cards were cut up and laminated. Then groups were issued with a different set. Students matched the cards making comments on were they correct? Too easy? Too hard? Then gave feedback comments to the class and if necessary suggest a new card to be placed into the pack.

What were the critical moments?
Starting! pupils had never produced this type of task before. Stopping! Pupils enjoyed the reflection etc. They wanted to do it again next lesson – but this would have lost its impact.

What mathematics was learnt? (on plan and off plan) and what is the evidence of learning?
Discussion of good / bad questions. How to solve an equation – do you start from the question or the solution? Is it wrong to start with the solution? Does it depend on the question? What skills were used?

How was that mathematics learnt?
A non-threatening environment where pupils learnt from one another.

Other memorable outcomes
Keen learners. Less able pupils taking positive active role and being equal in the learning process. Quality meaningful discussion. A good resource bank to use with other groups. One group used the ink pen which can be rubbed out. Take care, this vanishes when laminated and the cards became blank – we learnt this the hard way!

Cards produced like

2x + 4 = 8

x = 2

and many that were more difficult.


Downloadable PDF

Click here to download this lesson account in PDF format.

Values & Principles

Fluency in recalling facts and performing skills
Conceptual understanding and interpretations for representations
Strategies for investigation and problem solving
Awareness of the nature and values of educational system
Builds on the knowledge learners already have
Exposes and discusses common misconceptions and other surprising phenomena
Encourages reasoning rather than ‘answer getting’

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Lesson Accounts Introduction


Mathematics Matters - What constitutes the effective learning of mathematics? find out more


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