The role of subordination and fading in learning formal algebraic notation and solving equations: the case of Year 5 students

2015-09-25T08:39:21Z (GMT) by Dave Hewitt
A group of 9-10 year olds, who previously had not met letters or formal algebraic notation, were taught over three lessons which led up to solving linear equations using software which produced formal algebraic notation as a consequence of making movements round a grid. Tasks using the software were understandable in terms of movements but the only information provided to carry out tasks was the formal notation. This feature of subordinating the notation to the required task was examined along with the way in which the strong visual support offered by the software was faded in activities. Students gained some success in solving linear equations but the greatest success came in the way students became confident with reading and writing formal notation.