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Learning algebra through guided play and story telling 

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Workbook on teaching simultaneous equations through guided play and story telling.

More details on the workbook are available upon request. 

Spark: Simultaneous equations are often introduced to students at Key Stage 3 with an emphasis on the consolidation of understanding algebraic functions and the fluency of using algebraic representations to express mathematical ideas. However, this is not a simple technique to grasp, but in this coursework, I have proposed an innovative teaching approach that incorporates guided play and story telling. 

Gap in teaching: The traditional maths learning approach places great emphasis on rote memorizations, repetitions and practices. There has been a lack of inquiry-based learning in the classroom, which provides opportunities for students to actually make sense of mathematics. 

Features of the handbook: 

  • It started with the story of Grandpa Bill and Tom, who are sending a cage of chickens and rabbits to the local animal welfare centre. In order to do so, they need to first figure out the exact number of chickens and rabbits from the number of legs. This Chickens and Rabbits Problem is an ancient maths puzzle, which firstly appeared in a mathematical treatise, The Mathematical Classic of Sunzi (孙子算经), which was written during 3rd to 5th centuries AD. This new story contextualizes the elimination method, which is used to solve simultaneous equations. As the plot moves forward, students are engaged with various activities with their peers, including the use of adjustable legs of chickens and rabbits to attach to the bodies of chickens and rabbits. The learning process is guided by their teachers.

  • I drew from Sandra Walker Russ's affective processes and Jean Lave's situated learning to justify the design of the workbook and the benefits of using story telling in learning algebra.  

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