June 26 – June 30 Online work and discussion

Long-term Assignment – Interview a student to assess their understanding of the Order of Operations.  This is a ‘pre-test’ more or less, of your abilities as well as a fact finding assessment mission.  Engage in the formative assessment of a student’s understanding of the order of operations. Student should be in 4th-7th grade. This is an open-ended assignment. You do whatever you think is best to gather the information you need regarding this student’s thinking and the Order of Operations. You can do this at any time before the start of class and up to the due date of July 10th.    Hold on to your notes from the assessment.  You will need them for Q&DWrite-up 3–Formative Assessment of Order of Operations Due July 10. – Write up a one page report on your assessment of student’s understanding of the Order of Operations
Note: You will need to meet with this student again at some point between July 21 and July 28th.  You must have watched and completed the July 22nd on line class before you meet with student for second time. Further instruction posted for that part of assignment after July 10th due date for this first part of assignment.


Topic: What is Algebra in the Elementary classroom?

Welcome to ELM 558!  I look forward to working with you all Face to Face.

elm-558-syllabus-summer 14. Take a look and feel free to shoot me an email if you have any questions or concerns about anything, including scheduling issues.

For now, let’s get started thinking about Algebra and what it means to the elementary classroom teacher.

Intro to Faulkner.  Watch this video (18 minutes) of me presenting ideas about the brain and mathematics at a TEDxNCSU lecture. If you have watched it once before, go ahead and watch it again.  If you have it memorized, you can skip it.  Watching this video will give you an idea about my ideas about mathematics and a sense for my study habits in high school : ).  I hope you will find it entertaining.

Anxiety and performance: Here is what I felt like when I got started on this lecture and is why I was giggling to myself at the beginning.  This is also how many students, perhaps yourself included, at times,  feel about math!

Before you begin your reading address the following questions on your own. Play around with each and consider as many possible approaches as you can.  At least two.  Both pictures from Suh, 2007.

Discussion Board Post due by June 30th.


#1 Staircase pattern


Consider the pattern above.  It is a staircase pattern and we see it here at step 1, step 2, step 3 and step 5.  How would you describe this pattern to someone else?  You can use words and/or symbols.  Find at least 2 ways to describe the pattern.

How would you tell someone to figure out how many total blocks there are, for the whole staircase, if you have a staircase that has its highest height at 100 steps? If you had to add up all those total blocks, what would be the quickest way to do so, that you can think of?

REMEMBER – play with this on your own for some time before you post or take a look at other posts.

Post your thinking on



Square number patterns

Here is a square number pattern.  There are many wonderful patterns built into square numbers. How many can you find?  In order to discover more patterns, consider using colored tiles or colored pencil and paper to play with the growth from square to square. Describe the patterns you see, at least 2, using words and/or symbols.  One way to think about what you are doing is to figure out a way to tell someone how to get from any perfect square to the next perfect square.  If I said, ‘add 11 to 25’ that would tell me how to get from one particular perfect square (25 or 5 squared)  to the next perfect square (36 or 6 squared), but would not help me get from ANY perfect square to the next perfect square. How could I tell someone to get from ANY perfect square to the next?  Or, perhaps you can describe a pattern that you can find, a way to decompose any given square number other than in the basic form of a square, NxN.

REMEMBER – play with this on your own for some time before you post or take a look at other posts.

Post your thinking on

Once you are done posting your ideas, read Suh, 2007.  You can post more after you have read the article if you have more ideas you want to share!  Also, go back and read at least a few other people’s postings

* Be prepared for class – be ready to describe and explain the solution(s) that someone other than you generated. 

That’s it for this on-line session.  You might want to get ahead by going to next week’s on-line session.  There are 5 chapters of reading there, along with a discussion paper and discussion board posting due.

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