Do you make your students use this method? My lesson went over like a fart in church today. My students are pretty confident with solving systems of equations in three variables. They hated using matrices and row operations. It didn't help that I have a few students that still count on their fingers. They were VERY vocal about their disapproval of the "new" method. I also made the mistake of telling them that Guass is from the 1800's. That just fueled their hatred and more jumped on the bandwagon of "Why are we learing this old stuff? It has nothing to do with my life now." I would normally chalk-it-up to a bad day, but this is the second time I've tried teaching this lesson and I've gotten the same reaction two year in a row. Is it me or the students? I'm thinking I will just let them use whatever methid they feel comfortable with. Monday we were going to go over Cramer's Rule, but now I'm not so sure.

No math-specific forum, no. But do bear in mind that it's still toward the beginning of a lot of people's workdays: your fellow math teachers simply may not have had time to get on A to Z in the couple of hours since your post. I believe it's spelled Gauss, by the way.

Gaussian elimination is a very nice procedure for solving systems of equations. It is also important in helping to find determinants of matrices.(no program/calculator uses the definition to calculate the determinant of a matrix...they first row reduce then they calculate the det...much, much faster) Cramer's rule is only important for it's theoretical value in proving some theorems. As a way to solve systems of equations it is entirely too slow.

I like teaching it. And, after a few days, my kids always liked it too. But I DID spend one entire class on having them just follow the row operations-- I worked out 4 problems, and left out all the numbers. So they got used to the whole "2x row 3 + row 1" stuff. As they did the worksheet, I explained the reasoning behind the choice of steps. By the time they actually had to do a problem on their own, they got the logic behind the algebra. (And Teacher Groupie was right... surprise, surprise. We don't start Easter vaction until next Wednesday; we started Trimester exams today.)

I hated math and did terrible at Gaussian Elimination in High School. I struggled with algorithms and variables it isn't you and it isn't the students. From someone who would've been one of those complainers it would have been out of frustration and my anxiety over math. Try to tell your students how it is important for today's life...if not just try to reach into their anxiety. I still counted on my fingers in high school. I felt insecure in my knowledge in math, which was VERY deficient in many areas...I counted on my fingers when I was scared and confused.

I bet matrixes seem a bit abstract to some of the students. Anything with a lot of steps where it is easy to make an error will make some of the students who are prone to math anxiety quite anxious as well. Give it a bit more time and more students will probably come around and begin to understand it better. Some of the students will be taking Linear Algebra in college so they need to be exposed to it.