Using Tables to Teach Algebra

In an Edutopia article published today, my colleague Larisa Bukalov and I discussed ways that we use tables to help algebra students make mathematical connections. Here is the introduction to the article:

As high school math teachers, we frequently encounter situations where students get confused about what they’re learning. They often don’t see how what we’re teaching connects to what they’ve learned before or even why it’s true. In anticipation of these concerns, we create opportunities in our lessons for students to use structure (an important skill in the Common Core math standards) to connect to mathematical ideas.

We regularly use tables or organizational charts to help students recognize structure and use it to solve problems. Tables are an especially powerful tool for teaching algebra because most students struggle with the abstract notation used in the course. Tables help students associate two sets of information (a basic mathematical task) and organize their thinking. In this article, we describe two effective uses of tables in algebra.

The article mentions many of the strategies that we discuss in more detail in our book Practical Algebra: A Self-Teaching Guide (3rd edition), published by Wiley (2022). The book is available at .

Our Edutopia article is available for free at

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