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By: Monica Neagoy & Jennifer Bay-Williams

In: Planting the Seeds of Algebra, PreK-2: Explorations for the Early Grades

Chapter 7: Patterns of Cubes—The Lesson (Grade 2)

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Patterns of Cubes—The Lesson (Grade 2)
Patterns of cubes—the lesson (grade 2)

Despite the grouping of “patterns” and “functions” under the rubric “Algebra” in national and state standards documents and prevailing mathematics curricula, the underlying mathematical connection between pattern and function, or between function and algebra, is not always clear. Math educator Erick Smith (2003) agrees:

The relationship among patterns, functions, and algebra is not necessarily obvious … elementary school teachers may create rich classroom experiences around patterns, yet not have a sense of how this topic ties into the ongoing mathematical development of their students, much less into the topic of functions.

He goes on to say that, similarly, middle school teachers may not have a sense of how the notion of function relates to students’ ...

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