for the learning of mathematics

an international journal of mathematics education

Janet Walkoe ,  Mariana Levin - Vol. 40 Num. 2 (2020)
 Seeds of algebraic thinking: towards a research agenda


We hypothesize that one thing that has been holding the field back from recognizing the algebraic potential of young children’s early experiences is an emphasis on specific definitions of what counts as algebra-relevant knowledge. In this article, we seek to develop a perspective on algebraic thinking that foregrounds the algebraic potential of patterns of thinking that emerge through children’s embodied experience and their early pre-instructional experiences, such as through play. We call these pre-instructional cognitive resources, that may be rooted in repeated sensorimotor experience as abstract patterns that help individuals make sense of future experiences, “seeds of algebraic thinking.”