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# Early Algebra in Investigations

One goal of the Investigations curriculum is “to make the foundations of algebra … more visible to teachers and students, to expand this work in the context of students’ study of number and operations, and to deepen the focus on patterns, functions, and change.” (Algebra in the Revision)

In addition to a unit per grade level focused on patterns, functions, and change, work on early algebraic ideas is embedded in the number and operations units at each grade. This work focuses on using models, representations, and contexts to investigate and justify general claims about the properties of numbers and operations. For example, does order matter when you count? When you add? What about the other operations?

How does the curriculum help teachers identify and explore generalizations that arise in the course of students’ study of number and operations? How do students learn to describe such generalizations and consider questions like: Does this generalization apply to all numbers (that I know about)? Why does it work? How do I know? The curriculum supports teachers with this in a variety of ways.

At the Unit Level

• Algebra Connections in This Unit. These essays, which appear in every unit focused on number and operations or patterns, functions, and change, explain “how the activities and ideas of the curriculum unit are laying a foundation for students’ later work with algebra.” (p. 8 of Implementing Investigations at Grade X) For example, it might “highlight several generalizations and include examples of how students think about and represent them.” (Algebra in the Revision)