The CSRA HUB and the RPSEC are conducting a dialogue with middle school mathematics teachers and administrators to explore options for preparing all students for success in Algebra. Algebra has often been described as a “gatekeeper” course, since a student’s performance in it might determine his/her access to higher mathematics. The Algebra Project is a middle school mathematics transition program designed to phase students into algebraic thinking through a five step process. This process capitalizes on what research tells us about the way children learn. Each new concept unit in the Algebra Project is introduced with a relevant, physical experience on which subsequent learning may be based. The teachers in the project are trained to use techniques that guide the student along a path which connects that concrete, physical experience with the abstract, symbolic representation of the experience. Over a 2-3 year transition period, middle school mathematics is learned in a way that helps all students link concepts of arithmetic appropriately to higher mathematics, construct meaning, and find purpose for some basic processes of algebra, and develop a personal need for symbolization as used in algebra. The Algebra Project is one of several transition programs on the market. An extensive, long term staff development component and a strong community/parental component are unique qualities of this program. Plans are being made for a two-week summer teacher training session in the state. Schools interested in more details about the project and the summer training may contact Gwen Johnson or Gloria Allen at 648-6851, Ext. 3313.

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