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ERIC Number: EJ1106913
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2004
Pages: 8
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0228-0671
Ten-Year-Old Students Solving Linear Equations
Brizuela, Barbara; Schliemann, Analucia
For the Learning of Mathematics, v24 n2 p33-40 2004
In this article, the authors seek to re-conceptualize the perspective regarding students' difficulties with algebra. While acknowledging that students "do" have difficulties when learning algebra, they also argue that the generally espoused criteria for algebra as the ability to work with the syntactical rules for solving equations is rather narrow. The crux of the argument of this article is that if the authors can present evidence of younger, elementary school children engaging with algebra, and using and understanding the syntactic rules of algebra, the question becomes why so many adolescents face difficulties with algebra. The authors believe that, as previously stressed by many, the difficulties middle- and high-school students have with algebra result from their previous experiences with a mathematics curriculum that focuses exclusively on arithmetic procedures and computation rules. In this article, the authors describe classroom and interview data showing that, if children are given the opportunity to discuss algebraic relations and to develop algebraic notations, even ten-year-old students can solve algebraic equations with unknown amounts on both sides of the equals sign.
FLM Publishing Association. 382 Education South, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta T6G 2G5, Canada. e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education; Grade 2; Primary Education; Early Childhood Education; Grade 3; Grade 4; Intermediate Grades
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: National Science Foundation (NSF)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Massachusetts (Boston)
Grant or Contract Numbers: 9909591