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Teaching mathematics
Teaching mathematics

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2.2 Indeterminacy: moving from specific unknowns to variables

When learners are introduced to symbolic representations, they often represent a quantity that has a specific but unknown value. The learner may be asked to find this value.

Two examples of such problems are missing number problems and Think of a Number (THOAN) problems.

Activity 7 Missing number problems

Timing: Allow 10 minutes

Have a go at the following problems.

Missing number problems
Figure 4 Missing number problems

Activity 8 Reflecting

Timing: Allow 5 minutes

What makes these algebra problems, rather than simply number problems?

What do you expect learners to learn from these problems?

Now watch the two videos that discuss these questions.

Download this video clip.Video player: Video 3 Missing number problems
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Video 3 Missing number problems
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Download this video clip.Video player: Video 4 THOAN
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Video 4 THOAN
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