Teaching Children Mathematics

Teaching Children Mathematics is a monthly (August through May) journal published and owned by The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics whose headquarters are in Reston, Va. It has been published since 1994. Written for mathematics teachers, Teaching Children Mathematics covers mathematics education through the middle grades. This journal provides educators with teaching techniques for mathematics education and focuses on developments in curriculum, instruction, learning and teacher education. Its region is the United States. The February 2006 issue of Teaching Children Mathematics featured an article titled "How Many Days 'til My Birthday? Helping Students Understand Calendar Connections and Concepts." This article described a new approach to instructing kindergarteners about the representation of time through calendars. The October 2010 issue looked at building word problems by using students' own experiences. The journal's regular departments include "Math by the Month" and "From the Classroom." Pamela Halonen is the Editor and Gretchen Mui and Luanne Flom are Contributing Editors.

Articles from Vol. 3, No. 6, February

A Foundation for Algebraic Reasoning in the Early Grades
For many adults, algebra means solving systems of equations; finding the value of an unknown; using the quadratic formula; or otherwise working within a system of formulas, equations, and literal symbols. From this perspective, the suggestion that algebra...
Algebra for a New Century
Algebra. The mere mention of the word conjures up horrible images of equation solving and factoring and story problems. And failure. Although a number of historians claim that the Egyptians or perhaps the Babylonians were responsible for the advent...
Algebraic Thinking: A Professional-Development Theme
Over a thirty-six month period beginning September 1992, teams of two elementary, two middle, and two high school teachers from each of seven school districts attended a series of biweekly seminars at Education Development Center (EDC). The seminars,...
Becoming Very-Able with Variables
The "Investigations" department recognizes the importance of children's exploring hands-on and minds-on mathematics and, therefore, presents teachers with open-ended explorations to enhance mathematical instruction. These meaningful tasks are designed...
Computers Support Algebraic Thinking
Try this problem: Write an equation using the variables S and P to represent this statement: "There are six times as many students as professors at this university." Use S for the number of students and P for the number of professors. Most university...
Doing Algebra in Grades K-4
About thirty-five years ago the movement to incorporate geometry into the elementary grades began. To many elementary school teachers, the mention of the word geometry brought back memories of a high school geometry course that dealt with abstraction...
Experiences with Patterning
Over the past decade we have learned that children are capable of mathematical insights and mathematical invention that exceed our expectations. We have also learned that we, as teachers, contribute to - or suppress - this insight and inventiveness in...
Functions from Kindergarten through Sixth Grade
One of the most important and pervasive concepts in mathematics is that of a function. High school and college students often have trouble with the function concept because of the abrupt and abstract way in which it is introduced. However, even very...
Literature and Algebraic Reasoning
The K-4 Curriculum and Evaluation Standards for School Mathematics (NCTM 1989) encourages teachers to broaden and develop their students' mathematical understandings by providing students with opportunities to explore and discuss patterns and relationships....
Liz's Pattern
A recent mathematical experience with Liz Leatherberry, a student in sixth grade, emphasized to us the importance of early learning, which can form a solid base for algebraic knowledge. Previous activities, such as using pattern blocks in kindergarten,...
Mathematics of Change: Ins and Outs or Ups and Downs
Algebraic thinking encourages examination or conceptualization of number relationships in general. It is a way of going from specific thinking to general cases. - Carlyle and Moses 1995 We describe here an activity with variations useful throughout...
Patterns and Functions
These activities are designed to appeal directly to students, giving them open-ended questions to engage and challenge their intellect. Students may work on the activities individually, in pairs, or in small groups. No solutions are given for the activities...
Patterns as Tools for Algebraic Reasoning
One teacher made up this story to introduce her sixth-grade students to "Crossing the River," one of the lessons in a unit called Patterns in Numbers and Shapes. You and your partner have gone on a long hike with 8 adults. You are very hot and tired....
Preparing Students to Enter the Gate
Algebraic thinking in elementary school?" Individuals pondering this idea might immediately picture a mathematics class of young boys and girls whose eyes are filled with tears of frustration from trying to understand expressions like p(q - 5) or x +...
Probing the Foundations of Algebra: Grade-4 Pattern Items in NAEP
Suppose that you asked fourth-grade students to predict whether the number 375 would ever appear in a sequence of numbers generated by multiplying 2s (4, 8, 16, 32, . . .). Would students recognize the impossibility of 375 appearing in the sequence?...
Spreadsheets, Patterns, and Algebraic Thinking
What is the first Fibonacci number greater than a million? Can elementary teachers use a challenging problem, such as this, to enhance the algebraic thinking of their students? Even with a calculator, the computations are quite tedious. The computer...
What Does Algebraic Thinking Look like and Sound like with Preprimary Children?
Over the past few decades, we have come to accept readily the idea that the beginnings of mathematical thinking and computation emerge well before children enter prekindergarten and kindergarten, and these understandings and skills expand rapidly once...