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Before algebra students can be expected to understand traditional "word problems," they need experience using algebra as a language, i.e. writing algebraic expressions and equations. At Pierce College we are encouraging elementary algebra instructors to include a set of lessons on expressions, gradually increasing in difficulty and leading to problems involving weighted averages ("mixture problems") and motion.
The purpose of this module is to explore the concept of linear functions and relate their use to a real-world application.
The exploration of linear functions will cross levels from Elementary Algebra into College Algebra. Throughout this module we will provide activities that can be used in the classroom to encourage active participation of students with the concepts. The activities provided will address the levels beginning with plotting of points in a coordinate plane and culminating in class projects based on real-life applications of linear functions. From the beginning, students will be encouraged to actively participate in both a mental and physical exploration of point placement, the relationship between points and linear graphs, and interpretation of slope. Additional activities incorporating the use of technology will be provided for use by instructors and students. Some activities are intended for students to complete outside of class and/or for use by students in an online learning environment.
The following are the expected outcomes of this module:
Provide an introduction to student understanding of ordered pairs on the coordinate plane.
Explore of the relationship between ordered pairs and a linear function.
Explore various forms of an equation of a line.
Connect linear functions with a real-world application.
Extend the linear function concept to a piecewise-defined function application.