Useful teaching strategies
You can use classifying and matching as two strategies while teaching aspects of algebra.
Classifying is a task well suited to the thinking processes that everyone uses naturally to organise information and ideas.
A typical classification task may involve a card sort. Pupils work together to sort cards into groups with common characteristics that establish criteria for classification.
Being asked to consider and justify their criteria helps pupils to develop their skills and understanding.
The key part of designing a good classification task is the initial choice of cards that will provide a sufficiently high challenge. A common mistake when running a classification task is to intervene too soon and over-direct the pupils.
Matching different forms of representation often involves carefully selected cards and a lesson design similar to that for classifying. In this instance, pupils are asked to match cards that are equivalent in some way.
This kind of activity can give pupils important mental images, at the same time as offering the chance to confront misconceptions.