This project is studying how young children in grades K-2 understand mathematical concepts that are foundational for developing algebraic thinking. Researchers are contributing to an ongoing effort to develop a learning trajectory that describes how algebraic concepts are developed. The project uses teaching experiments, with researchers talking directly to students as they explore algebraic ideas. They explore how students think about and develop concepts related to covariation, representations of functions, relationships among variable, and generalization.
This project will use classroom-based research to teach children about important algebraic concepts and to carefully explore how children come to understand these concepts. The primary goal is to identify levels of sophistication in children's thinking as it develops through instruction. Understanding how children's thinking develops will provide a critical foundation for designing curricula, developing content standards, and informing educational policies.