Modelling is a theme within quantities and algebraic expressions. Links to relevant activities and resources are on the right hand side of this page.
The usefulness of algebra for students who are not going to become pure mathematicians lies in:
- understanding and using symbolic mathematical models to predict, explain and prove in mathematical and other situations;
- controlling, using, understanding and adapting spreadsheet, graphing, programming and database software
Students can learn to use algebra successfully if they have multiple experiences, over time, of modelling situations in and out of mathematics; exploring and explaining what happens using various representations, and relating these back to the situation. Research shows that having personal control of digital technology is important as it gives students a way to vary expressions, variables and parameters and see the effects.
Conversely, research also shows that holistic ways of relating algebra to situations are successful in helping students to learn the procedures, meanings and uses of algebra. Holistic teaching combines arithmetic, algebra, data, graphs and functions side by side.