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Math Musings: An Adult Numeracy Blog

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Making the Most of Word Problems
by Sarah Lonberg-Lew Whether they’re called word problems, story problems, or problems in context, they usually amount to the same thing – a short story about a character who for some reason needs to know how long it will take to do a task or how much it will cost to go on ten rides … Continue reading Making the Most of Word Problems
How a Health Diagnosis Made My Math Skills All Too Relevant (And Why Math Education Is Critical for Public Health)
A huge international study of adult literacy and numeracy skills (Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies, known as PIACC) showed that in the U.S., 30% of adults had numeracy skills at or below level 1, which means they could only perform the most basic, single step, whole number operations.1,2  This could impact the … Continue reading How a Health Diagnosis Made My Math Skills All Too Relevant (And Why Math Education Is Critical for Public Health)

What is (AR)2?


The Adults Reaching Algebra Readiness series builds upon the content presented in Adult Numeracy lnstruction (ANI) professional development.

(AR)2 begins with a review of linear functions, including in-out tables, equations, and graphs and progresses to systems of equations, always relating to real-life.

Activities then build from linear functions to nonlinear functions and explorations with exponents. Geometry concepts are explored as ways to apply algebraic reasoning in real-life contexts, including both linear and nonlinear examples.

Throughout the sessions, we continue to connect to basic number properties which are the focus on the College and Career Readiness Standards and other core ideas introduced in Teachers Investigating Adult Numeracy (TIAN) and ANI, including

Overarching Objectives

Participants in (AR)2 will be able to:

• turn everyday experiences into opportunities for teaching algebraic topics;

• work with algebraic expressions/equations in various formats: verbal model, input/output tables, graphs and equations;

• solve a system of equations graphically and algebraically;

• manipulate symbols in decontextualized problem to solve various algebraic equations;

• make connections to the College and Career Readiness Standards;

• use real-life problems to analyze linear and nonlinear situations.

Why (AR)2?

The jobs of the 21st century will, at a minimum, require an associate's degree or better. For students to meet these challenges, and with the release of the Career and College Readiness Standards, higher level math skills are needed.

Less than 5% of adult education teachers were math majors in college, and many, at best, only completed up to algebra when they were students.

Both our students and our teachers need strategies to understand these higher level math demands at both the conceptual and algebraic level. (AR)2 helps prepare teachers to meet these challenges.