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Mathematical formulas can be foreign to some students, similar to speaking a second language. If we can help them pick up on the cues present in every problem, they will be more likely to be successful in decoding the problem and finding a solution. A perfect example is our focus CAHSEE problem which is full of foreign signs and symbols.

This unit focuses on the CAHSEE problem:

The perimeter, P, of a square may be found by using the formula, 1/4 P = sqrt(A), where A is the area of the square. What is the perimeter of the square with an area of 36 square inches?

The major California Mathematics Content standards addressed in this question include:

Algebra 2.0 Students use operations such as taking the opposite, finding a reciprocal, taking a root, and raising to a fractional power. 

  • (A)     9 in
  • (B)     12 in
  • (C)     24 in
  • (D)     72 in


In Unit 6.1 Making Sense of Symbols, you will:

  • Deepen your understanding of mathematical concepts in Algebra, including:
    • Connecting algebraic symbols with verbal meaning;
    • Writing and solving equations; and
    • Interpreting numerical solutions.
  • Develop skills in new instructional strategies, including
    • Bridging from prior experience to mathematical understanding through analogy;
    • Scaffolding mathematical language development for English l earners;
    • Using a heuristic to structure problem solving; and
    • Using PowerPoint and a SmartBoard to enhance instruction.