A.P. Gandra1, A.P. Aires2, P. Catarino2

1Escola Básica e Secundária Fontes Pereira de Melo (PORTUGAL)
2Universidade de Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro (PORTUGAL)
Algebra is one of the areas where students show greater learning difficulties and for this reason is in all countries a problem area of great significance. Learning how to solve first degree equations is a prerequisite for the field of algebra in the third cycle of basic education and in Portugal, the initiation takes place in the seventh grade (ME, 2013).

Currently, the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) is of great importance in the teaching and learning of algebra (NCTM, 2000). Children of all ages demonstrate taste for games and the use of games in the classroom can be a methodological and effective resource in motivating sense of teaching and learning of algebra.

This paper explores the use of a game, Algebra Four, as a resource for teaching and learning of the first degree equations. Algebra Four is an interactive assessment game. Students play a generalized version of connect four, gaining the chance to place a piece on the board by solving an algebraic equation. Interested also realize that the application of the game influenced the understanding by the students on the content involved.

This work was developed with twenty-eight students in a class of seventh grade of basic education and was carried out in the context of teaching experience equivalency principles in solving equations. Methodologically we opted for a qualitative and interpretative research approach, created on a case study. Data collection was done through direct observation of a lesson and written productions of students. Students responded individually and without any help to a task for fifteen minutes. The teacher is an author and assumed the role of observer.

The results point out that the application of Algebra Four facilitated the understanding of the equivalence principle, by the students. Students solve first-degree equations with significantly better performance than usual, even those who had poor performance in mathematics. It is considered that the experience can be applied to other classes with the same results.

[1] Ministério da Educação - ME (2013). Programa e Metas Curriculares de Matemática do Ensino Básico. Lisboa: DGIDC NCTM (2000). Principles and Standards for School Mathematics. Reston: NCTM