NDSU Distance & Continuing Education (DCE)

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Course Descriptions

Integrating Algebra into the Elementary Classroom

EDUC 600

This course focuses on integrating algebraic thinking into your current curriculum.  The text will help you develop what the author calls “algebra eyes and ears”.  Participants will learn how to navigate through classroom conversations to help students develop their algebraic ideas.  Your students will learn to find relationships in data, make language and symbolic conjectures, and test their conjectures to prove them true or false.  The research-based strategies and activities will build a strong base, preparing your students for formal algebra instruction.


As a result of this participation in this course, students should:

  • Identify research based strategies that develop an algebraic base in elementary students;
  • Introduce contexts that encourage children to explore algebraic thinking;
  • Understand that elementary students are capable of learning and understanding elementary algebraic ideas and representations;
  • Design questions that will build and extend algebraic thinking;
  • Develop research based activities appropriate for the students they teach;
  • Represent algebra as and integral part of early mathematical curriculum;
  • Understand strategies for exploring number relationships in data;
  • Be able to teach students to articulate number relationships, both with language and symbols;
  • Teach students to test and prove conjectures either true or false.


The required reading is found in 1 text listed below. The required text is:

Blanton, M. (2008).  Algebra and the Elementary Classroom.  Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Carpenter, T. & Levi, L. (2000). Developing conceptions of algebraic reasoning in the primary grades. (Res. Rep. 00-2). Madison, WI: National Center for Improving Student Learning and Achievement in Mathematics and Science.

Schliemann, A.D., et al. (2003, in press). Algebra in Elementary School.  Honolulu, HI:  Proceedings of the 27th International Conference for the Psychology of Mathematics Education.