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Planting the Seeds of Algebra, 3-5

Planting the Seeds of Algebra, 3-5
Explorations for the Upper Elementary Grades

Forewords by Francis (Skip) Fennell and Keith Devlin

© 2015 | 248 pages | Corwin

Give your students a foundation of algebra for math success – now and in the future!


Algebra is not something to be feared, but something to be embraced with a sense of wonder. Planting the Seeds of Algebra, 3-5, introduces algebra as an accessible way of seeing the world that is necessary to our students’ futures.


Students and teachers must become friendly with algebraic foundations, as they have increasingly become the gateway to careers in the STEM fields. Monica Neagoy empowers teachers with theoretical and practical ways to introduce Algebra to 3-5 grade students, making vital connections to concepts they will encounter in middle school and beyond. You’ll discover

  • Four explorations to help you weave key algebraic ideas into everyday mathematics
  • Step-by-step lessons from real classrooms that will guide you in teaching concepts and in establishing their relevance and applicability
  • New teaching methods that break down difficult algebraic concepts and build a critical foundation for higher math

Awaken new awareness and change attitudes by sowing the seeds for a vibrant, useful, and rich experience with mathematics.

"While reading this book I experienced the sense of wonder and aha moments alongside the students themselves. This book will move your faculty to new depths of understanding about mathematics and will instill the passion to explore a myriad of algebraic concepts.”

— Bob Weiman, Director

St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes School


“She’s done it again! Monica Neagoy has authored another book that deftly presents important foundations of algebra while celebrating mathematics through carefully crafted explorations, all of which include student and teacher vignettes and comments about the mathematics they have learned and are teaching. Wow. When I read this book I felt like I was in a classroom!” 

Francis (Skip) Fennell, McDaniel College
Past President of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics

Foreword by a Mathematics Educator by Dr. Francis (Skip) Fennell
Foreword by a Mathematician by Dr. Keith Devlin
About the Author
Exploration I. Geometry, Measurement, and Data: An Algebraic Perspective
Chapter 1. Circling Circles: The Lesson (Grade 3)
Chapter 2. Behind Circling Circles: Algebra Connections
Chapter 3. Beyond Circling Circles: More Problems to Explore
Exploration II. Patterns and Functions: What’s Their Connection to Algebra?
Chapter 4. Fancy Fences: The Lesson (Grades 4–5)
Chapter 5. Behind Fancy Fences: Algebra Connections
Chapter 6. Beyond Fancy Fences: More Problems to Explore
Exploration III. Making Sense of Multiplication: The Importance of the Distributive Property
Chapter 7. Multiplication Musings: The Lesson (Grades 3–4)
Chapter 8. Behind Multiplication Musings: Algebra Connections
Chapter 9. Beyond Multiplication Musings: More Problems to Explore
Exploration IV. Fundamentals of Rational Numbers: Beyond Part–Whole Relationships
Chapter 10. Fractions in Action: From Work With Teachers, Students, and Parents (Grades 3–5)
Chapter 11. Final Thoughts

Free resources

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 3-5 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, fractions, ratios and rates, patterns, geometry, measurement, probability, math games, and so on, all of which are of direct concern to 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.

Sample Materials & Chapters


Chapter 1

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ISBN: 9781412996617

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