Designing SpreadsheetBased Tasks for Purposeful Algebra
 Janet Ainley,
 Liz Bills,
 Kirsty Wilson
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Abstract
We describe the design of a sequence of spreadsheetbased pedagogic tasks for the introduction of algebra in the early years of secondary schooling within the Purposeful Algebraic Activity project. This design combines two relatively novel features to bring a different perspective to research in the use of spreadsheets for the learning and teaching of algebra: the tasks which are purposeful for pupils and contain opportunities to appreciate the utility of algebraic ideas, and careful matching of the affordances of the spreadsheet to the algebraic ideas which are being introduced. Examples from two tasks are used to illustrate the design process. We then present data from a teaching programme using these tasks to highlight connections between aspects of the task design and the construction of meanings for variable.
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 Title
 Designing SpreadsheetBased Tasks for Purposeful Algebra
 Journal

International Journal of Computers for Mathematical Learning
Volume 10, Issue 3 , pp 191215
 Cover Date
 20051201
 DOI
 10.1007/s1075800584209
 Print ISSN
 13823892
 Online ISSN
 15731766
 Publisher
 Kluwer Academic Publishers
 Additional Links
 Topics
 Keywords

 algebra
 spreadsheets
 task design
 variable
 Authors

 Janet Ainley ^{(1)}
 Liz Bills ^{(2)}
 Kirsty Wilson ^{(1)}
 Author Affiliations

 1. Institute of Education, University of Warwick, Coventry, CV4 7AL, UK
 2. School of Education and Lifelong Learning, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK