Sunday, February 26, 2012

More Anti-Factoring Trees

Follow-up: Consider the article by McNeil, et. al. in COGNITION AND INSTRUCTION, 24(3), 367–385 (2006), on "Middle-School Students’ Understanding of the Equal Sign: The Books They Read Can’t Help" (link). In the conclusion they write:
In this study, the operations on both sides context was most effective in eliciting a relational understanding of the equal sign... Although the jury is still out, we argue that middle-school students would benefit from seeing more equal signs in an operations on both sides context.
Consider: Factoring seems like a golden opportunity to practice writing and reading operations on the right-hand side of the equals sign (i.e., use for anything other than simplifying/evaluating). And for that reason, using factoring trees instead of standard equation-writing is even more of a huge lost opportunity than I first thought.

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