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.

Exploration I Addition: Beyond Just Memorizing Addition Facts
Exploration I. addition: beyond just memorizing addition facts

Algebraic thinking begins with exploration.

Maria L. Blanton (2008)

Photo by Dorothy DiGiovannantonio

Rationale for Exploration I

  • The concept of addition holds a position of prominence in preK-2 mathematics.
  • Developing algebraic thinking must be modeled with basic mathematical concepts such as addition and subtraction. Treating arithmetic in algebraic ways begins at the beginning-with addition.
  • “My child already knows her addition facts; what should I give her next?” Next does not mean looking elsewhere. Rather, it means looking deeper, in the same place.
  • Learning addition combinations is much more than just committing “facts” to memory.
  • Technology tools compute more rapidly and more efficiently than we do. Our technological world has therefore raised the bar on our purpose for ...
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