What is Algebra?

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Objective

Students will be able to explain why algebra needs definitions and axioms, what some of these first principles are, and what it means to "do algebra".

Big Idea

Algebra is built on axioms and definitions and relies on proofs just as much as geometry.

Discussion: What is Algebra?

10 minutes

Discussion: An Historic Problem - reasoning abstractly and quantitatively

10 minutes

Discussion: How do you know?

15 minutes

Homework

10 minutes

In the final 10 minutes of class, there are several things to accomplish.

First, I will assign the homework for the night, which is to complete the remaining two problems on the Historic Algebra Problems handout.  This will be due at the beginning of class tomorrow.

Second, I will handout The Weekly Workout general guidelines along with the their first Weekly Workout 1.  Quickly, I will explain the rationale behind the weekly workout - it's about staying strong through constant practice - and ask everyone to write the due date on the top of the assignment.  It won't be easy, but I'll have to avoid getting side-tracked by lots of questions here!

Finally, I will pass out the class syllabus to all of the students, asking them to read it and share it with their parents.  Their parents must send me an email sometime before Friday so that I know they are able to contact me if they need to, and so that I can contact them.  This is another homework assignment!

It's important to write all of the assignments on the whiteboard and to make sure that the students copy the due dates into their planners, but it's also important to send them off with a smile and a big "Welcome to algebra!" at the end of class.