Beth Herbel-Eisenmann, associate professor of teacher education at the Michigan State University College of Education, has co-authored a book along with Penn State Professor Gwendolyn Lloyd, and Harvard’s Jon Star. The book, titled Developing Essential Understanding of Expressions, Equations, and Functions: Grades 6-8, is part of a series aimed at helping teachers deepen their understanding of critical mathematics topics that are deemed challenging to teach.
For example, “One area of the school mathematics curriculum that is very important to students’ learning but also quite challenging to teach is algebra,” said Lloyd.
The book is framed around what the authors call the five “big ideas” of challenging mathematical curricula to middle school students today: expressions, variables, equality, representing and analyzing functions, and solving equations.
The authors intended the book as an interactive dialogue between themselves and their audience through a series of discussion sections and reflective questions. Lloyd says the authors hope is that teachers can work through the discussion points “in study groups or university courses.”
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