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.

Behind Making 7—Algebra Connections

Behind making 7—algebra connections

Arithmetic and algebra are intertwined. A profound understanding of the former supports a profound understanding of the latter. Memorization of addition “facts” and rote learning of addition algorithms without understanding can have a negative influence on the construction of algebraic knowledge. Studies have shown that the nature of primary-school arithmetic is too often procedural and concentrated on computational results (Carpenter, 2003; Kieran, 1989; Linchevski, 1995). While every teacher's wish is for students to know their basic “math facts,” focusing on procedural fluency and privileging right answers, at the expense of understanding the processes that lead to them, serves neither arithmetic nor algebra. It is pretty much established that cognitive obstacles arising from early arithmetic experiences that focus ...

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