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5 votes
8 answers

Confusing variables with units in simple equations

I have noticed that beginning algebra (or pre-algebra) students can easily make the following type of error, confusing variables with units when being introduced to equations for proportional ...
8 votes
5 answers

Should one include the unit in the variable? E.g. should one write $x^\circ = 30^\circ$ or $x = 30^\circ$?

I sometimes come across equations like $x^\circ = 180^\circ - \frac{360^\circ}{n}$ where I would write $x = 180^\circ - \frac{360^\circ}{n}$, or like $3 \text{ cm} + x \text{ cm} = 5 \text{ cm}$ where ...
0 votes
2 answers

How to explain square meters?

How can we explain to students these ideas? A square with 4 sides measuring 25 cm each does not have an area of 1 square meter. A shape which is not a square can have an area of 1 square meter. Is “...
22 votes
2 answers

What does research indicate about how one should treat units in elementary school?

Background: My friend told me that when she was in elementary school, the teacher would ask questions like "If you have $6$ apples and eat $2$ of them, how many apples do you have left?" A ...
3 votes
3 answers

How to teach that $10000x^2$ c$^2$m$^2$ is wrong?

How do you teach to teenagers or kids that if we have a square with side length $x$ m (that is, $100x$ cm), then its area is $x^2$ m$^2,$ but not $10000x^2$ c$^2$m$^2$ ?