My interest in early algebra led me to seek out the definitions of algebra and early algebra according to various researchers. Algebra can be thought of as a set of tools for solving problems, where letters are used when making generalizations, finding unknowns, or working with variables. Early algebra is about providing children with the opportunities to think algebraically in order to develop an in-depth understanding of arithmetic. This led me to wonder if elementary school students display evidence of algebraic thinking, and if so, how their algebraic thinking is evident. On a number of occasions, I presented mathematical tasks to students in a grade two/three class and made observations on how they approached the problems. I found that there was evidence of algebraic thinking in elementary school students; they were able to find the unknown, they were able to work with variables, and they were able to make generalizations.
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Thesis advisor: Zazkis, Rina
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