Characterizing a Classroom Practice That Promotes Algebraic Reasoning

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  • 1 University of Massachusetts Dartmouth

We present here results of a case study examining the classroom practice of one thirdgrade teacher as she participated in a long-term professional development project led by the authors. Our goal was to explore in what ways and to what extent the teacher was able to build a classroom that supported the development of students' algebraic reasoning skills. We analyzed 1 year of her classroom instruction to determine the robustness with which she integrated algebraic reasoning into the regular course of daily instruction and its subsequent impact on students' ability to reason algebraically. We took the diversity of types of algebraic reasoning, their frequency and form of integration, and techniques of instructional practice that supported students' algebraic reasoning as a measure of the robustness of her capacity to build algebraic reasoning. Results indicate that the teacher was able to integrate algebraic reasoning into instruction in planned and spontaneous ways that led to positive shifts in students' algebraic reasoning skills.

Contributor Notes

Maria L. Blanton, Department of Mathematics, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, 285 Old Westport Road, No. Dartmouth, MA 02747-2300;

James J. Kaput, formerly at the Department of Mathematics, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.

(Corresponding author is Blanton
Journal for Research in Mathematics Education


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