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.

Final Thoughts

Final thoughts

Algebraic thinking is a major area of school mathematics that is crucial for students to learn but challenging for teachers to teach.

National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (2000)

This volume, along with the next one titled, Planting the Seeds of Algebra, Grades 3-5: Explorations for the Intermediate Grades, empowers elementary school teachers to meet the goal articulated by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) to “help students build a solid foundation of understanding and experience as a preparation for more sophisticated work in algebra in the middle grades and high school” (NCTM, 2000).

“Algebraic” Topics

By working through Explorations I through IV, students and teachers will engage with foundational concepts of algebra:

  • Numbers and operations
  • Notation
  • Equality
  • Unknowns and variables
  • Patterns and functions

The particularity of the Explorations ...

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