Early Adventures in Algebra: Featuring
Zero the Hero
GEMS Teacher's Guide for Grades 1—2
Written by Jaine Kopp with Kimi Hosoume
"Algebra for first and second grade?" you ask. YES!
is the resounding answer. This GEMS guide is designed to build
a foundation in algebraic thinking for students in the early primary
grades. Using the compelling context of "Zero the Hero,"
students learn the important role zero plays in our number system.
In a series of activities, including engaging games and challenges,
students solve for unknowns, explore the concepts of equality
and inequality, and represent and analyze mathematical situations
using algebraic symbols. Throughout the unit, the teacher facilitates
classroom discourse and encourages students to explain their thinking.
Sample teacherstudent dialogues are featured, based on real classroom
interactions.
This new GEMS guide makes strong connections to the National
Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) Principles and Standards
of School Mathematics as it builds crucial scaffolding for more
complex algebraic reasoning in later grades. This guide (and its
companion guide for Grades 35, Algebraic
Reasoning) plants seeds for all students' success in algebra.

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