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.
Chapter 8: Behind Patterns of Cubes— Algebra Connections
Behind Patterns of Cubes— Algebra Connections
The overarching goal of this chapter, through the analysis of the Patterns of Cubes (“Patterns”) lesson, is to make explicit the connections between patterns and functions, and between these concepts and algebra. First a few words about each.
Patterns of all kinds affect all aspects of our lives; they include political, economic, meteorological, circadian, and health patterns to name a few. To effectively understand and control the changing world we live in, we must be attentive to patterns of change and learn to discern them. In Chapter 7, we saw that mathematics as a major field of study is defined in the 21st century as the science of patterns. As early childhood research shows, ...