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Planting the Seeds of Algebra, PreK–2

Planting the Seeds of Algebra, PreK–2
Explorations for the Early Grades

Foreword by Jennifer Bay Williams

April 2012 | 208 pages | Corwin

Help young minds explore algebraic concepts

Algebra is the gateway to higher education, and preparing students to grasp algebraic concepts increases their opportunities to succeed. This book shows teachers how to create a strong foundation in algebra for very young children. Using in-depth math "explorations," the author unpacks—step by step—the hidden connections to higher algebra. Each exploration contains an elegantly simple grade-banded lesson (on addition, subtraction, patterns, and odd and even numbers), followed by a discussion of the algebra connections in the lesson, as well as suggestions for additional problems to explore. Throughout, readers will find:

  • Clear explanations of algebraic connections
  • Specific strategies for teaching the key ideas of algebra
  • Lesson modifications for older or younger students
  • An array of age-appropriate problems, games, and lessons

 Planting the seeds of Algebra, PreK–2 helps teachers foster mathematical habits of mind in students such as critical thinking, problem solving, adaptability, agility, communication, curiosity, and imagination. Growth in these ways of thinking and doing will transfer to other areas of education and life—raising the bar and challenging students to aspire.

Foreword by Jennifer Bay-Williams
About the Author
Exploration I. Addition: Beyond Just Memorizing Addition Facts
1. Making 7 - The Lesson (Grades PreK-K)
2. Behind Making 7 - Algebra Connections
3. Beyond Making 7 - More Problems to Explore
Exploration II. Subtraction: More Than Just "Take Away"
4. Sticker Stickler - The Lesson (Grades 1-2)
5. Behind Sticker Stickler - Algebra Connections
6. Beyond Sticker Stickler - More Problems to Explore
Exploration III. Patterns and Functions: What's the Connection?
7. Patterns of Cubes - The Lesson (Grade 2)
8. Behind Patterns of Cubes - Algebra Connections
9. Beyond Patterns of Cubes - More Problems to Explore
Exploration IV. Odd and Even Numbers: Beyond the Last-Digit Rule
10. Double Deckers - A Math-Night Presentation
11. Final Thoughts

"This is a must-have resource for any early childhood mathematics teacher. Monica Neagoy plants the seeds of algebraic understanding through her story-like explorations involving patterns, operations with whole numbers, and so much more. The responses from children and teachers not only shape the importance of the book, but frame a presentation style that gives teachers a sense of 'I can do this!'"

Francis (Skip) Fennell, L. Stanley Bowlsbey Professor of Education, McDaniel College and Past President, National Council of Teachers of Mathematics
Past President, National Council of Teachers of Mathematics

“This book is an excellent resource for a lesson-study group looking to deepen both their own knowledge of the interconnectedness of mathematics from the primary grades on up, and how to build a truly rich mathematical foundation for their students from the start.”

H. Caroline Piangerelli, PreK-12 Mathematics Specialist
Los Angeles Unified School District, CA

“The Common Core Standards call for all students to be competent in algebra. Algebraic concepts must be introduced in the primary grades to reach this goal. This book will deepen educators' understanding of algebra and shows how to set a firm foundation for students’ future study.”

Charyl Kerns Hills, Elementary Mathematics & Technology Integration Specialist
Council Rock School District, Newtown, PA

“This book is original, informative and engaging. The author does a great job of helping teachers understand how to further students’ mathematical thinking to gain a certain flexibility and confidence. She also supports teachers by providing the necessary mathematical background for seeing the bigger picture of their students’ math learning and thinking."

Rosamaria Murillo, Principal
Ladera Palma Elementary, La Habra, CA

“This book inspired me to rethink the way I approach math with my second graders. Monica Neagoy encourages teachers to allow children to arrive at answers through guided exploration and conceptual thinking. This approach makes math more enjoyable for teachers and students.”

Mollie M. Cura, Second-Grade Teacher
St. Stephens and St. Agnes School, Alexandria, VA

"Monica Neagoy displays amazing math expertise and teaching prowess. Her enthusiasm for guiding teachers to expand their understanding of algebra is contagious. I have a deeper understanding of the expansive process I want to explore with young children. Through this book, she definitely takes us on a stimulating mathematical journey."

Donna Ryan, Kindergarten Teacher
St. Stephens & Agnes School, Alexandria, VA

"In clear and easy-to-follow language, Monica Neagoy shows how what teachers do at the elementary level fits into the big picture of students' success in higher math. This will be the go-to book for primary teachers who see the value of developing algebraic thinking in their students."

Karen Kavaklian-D'Annecy, First-Grade Teacher
First Academy-Leesburg, FL

"Given the place and nature of Algebra in the mathematics curriculum—late, isolated, and technical—it is a very worthwhile effort to show that algebraic ideas can be introduced earlier, focus more on reasoning and problem solving, and stress the connections to all aspects of mathematics. This book is thought provoking and sets the direction for 21st century competencies."

Jan de Lange, Founder and Director
TalentenKracht/Curious Minds Education and Design Consultants

"Monica’s Pre-K through 2 journeys will inspire every lover of learning and foster a passion for mathematical thinking!"

Sheila Hensley, Pre-K Teacher
Garfield Elementary School, Washington, DC

"Planting the Seeds of Algebra, PreK–2 offers wonderful explorations coupled with specific details that will support teachers as they strive to spark and nurture children’s love of mathematics. Dr. Monica Neagoy honors young students’ ways of understanding mathematical ideas while looking for avenues to help move them forward in their reasoning."

LouAnn H. Lovin, Professor of Mathematics Education
James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA
Key features
  • Through the examination of four explorations, Planting the Seeds of Algebra, provides details for how algebraic thinking can be effectively incorporated into the teaching and learning of PreK-2 mathematics. Key ideas of algebra are weaved into these explorations, such as the difference and connection between variable and unknown, equality and equivalence; expressions and equations. Also, the relationship between patterns and functions, functions and algebra, and consequently patterns and algebra will be clarified.
  • Each chapter offers profound discussions on topics such as number properties, basic facts, computation, patterns, functions, math games, and so on, all of which are of direct concern to early elementary school teachers.
  • Each chapter contains a section that revisits the different stages of the lesson and discussion, bringing to light the connections to algebra that teachers are sometimes unaware of. The purpose of this section is therefore to guide teachers to become mindful of the rich potential of laying a solid algebra foundation through the mathematics they already teach every day.


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