Concept First, Notation Last

This video features a math lesson on teaching inequalities using the concept first, notation last teaching strategy.

Leah Alcala
Author(s) Organizational Affiliation
Teaching Channel
Martin Luther King Middle School
Publication Year
Resource Type
Instructional Material
Product Type
Target Audience

This 11-minute video features a math lesson on developing a conceptual understanding of linear inequalities and includes reflective commentary by the instructor. Supplemental materials include “Question to Consider” while watching the video. Registered users (free registration) can print a transcript of the video and a lesson plan on linear equalities. The lesson demonstration is with 7th graders. The materials support Common Core State Standards for math. 

What the experts say

Concept First, Notation Last models effective teaching and learning. The objective is for learners to come up with solutions that make sense to them rather than learning mathematical procedures without context. The approach of Concept First, Notation Last reinforces the idea of pleasure in learning in general and specifically in math. The video demonstrates how to model mathematical situations, including describing the question in a sentence, by graphing, and then by using mathematical notation, i.e., concept first, notation last.

This video is an excellent resource about learner-centered instruction that applies to all subjects in adult education. The lesson presented is an example of constructivism, in that learners are encouraged to make meaning out of what they already know and have experienced. The learning steps include describing the problem with a sentence, then graphing the problem, and finally using mathematical notation.  This layered approach is integral to adult education, and specifically to numeracy teaching and learning.

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