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From Arithmetic to Algebra


"Much of the difficulty that students encounter in the transition from arithmetic to algebra stems from their early learning and understanding of arithmetic. Too often, students learn about the whole number system and the operations that govern that system as a set of procedures to solve addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division problems. Teachers may introduce number properties as "truths" or axioms without developing students' deep conceptual understanding. To provide rich and explicit instruction to students in early algebraic thinking, teachers should clearly model what they want students to be able to do. Students must understand variables and constants, decomposing and representing word problems algebraically, symbol manipulation, and functions to develop algebraic thinking."