The subject of algebra has always been important in American secondary mathematics education. However, algebra at the elementary level has been garnering increasing attention and importance over the past 15 years. There is consequently a dire need for ideas, suggestions and models for how best to achieve pre-algebraic instruction in the elementary grades. Planting the Seeds of Algebra will empower teachers with theoretical and practical knowledge about both the content and pedagogy of such instruction, and show them the different faces of algebra as it appears in the early grades. The book will walk teachers of young children through many examples of K-6 math lessons and unpack, step by step, the hidden connections to higher algebra. After reading this book, teachers will be better equipped to reflect on their teaching, renew their thinking, and change parts of their practice in order to transform their classroom culture into one where both students and teachers are attuned to algebraic thinking, reasoning, talking, writing, and doing.
Introduction : Introduction
The illiterate* of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.
Everywhere we turn these days we encounter another article, report, or book on the importance of algebra. In 2000, the Principles and Standards for School Mathematics (National Council of Teachers of Mathematics [NCTM]) made algebra one of the five mathematics content standards for preK–12 mathematics. NCTM describes algebra as a way of thinking that cuts across all math content areas and unifies the curriculum. Yet 12 years after this major publication, many national and international reports,1 in acknowledging a serious national mathematics problem, consistently identify algebra as a central concern. Why? Because the mathematics achievement curve begins a sharp decline as ...