Abstract / Synopsis
The purpose of this article is to share a particular view that I have towards solving equations in the school mathematics classroom. Specifically, I contend that solving equations in the math classroom is a make-work project for math teachers and students. For example, math teachers take a predetermined value that makes a statement true, and then proceed to make it harder and harder and harder for their students to determine the value that makes the statement true. However, math teachers do so with the explicit purpose of teaching their students how to reveal the solution that they themselves have concealed. Stated in make-work project parlance, the math teacher digs a hole with the explicit purpose of teaching, then having the students fill the hole that they dug.
Chernoff, E. J. "Solving Equations: A Make-Work Project for Math Teachers and Students," Journal of Humanistic Mathematics, Volume 7 Issue 1 (January 2017), pages 251-262. DOI: 10.5642/jhummath.201701.19 . Available at: http://scholarship.claremont.edu/jhm/vol7/iss1/19