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Characterizing a Classroom Practice that Promotes Algebraic Reasoning

Historically the mathematical experience (and hence classroom practice) of most elementary teachers has been focused on arithmetic and computational fluency. However, it is widely accepted that preparing elementary students for the increasingly complex mathematics of the new century will require a different type of school experience, specifically, one that cultivates habits of mind that attend to the deeper underlying structure of mathematics (Kaput, 1999; Romberg and Kaput, 1999). Rethinking the type of curriculum and instruction in elementary grades that could effect this has led to a growing recognition that algebraic reasoning can simultaneously emerge from and enhance elementary school mathematics (NCTM, 2000).

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