Building a Grades K-2 Early Algebra Learning Progression Prototype for Diverse Populations (LEAP 4.2)


Research indicates that students need sustained algebra instruction throughout Grades K-12 mathematics education, if their informal intuitions about mathematical structure and relationships are to be transformed into the more formal ways of mathematical thinking. Currently, however, no research-based models are available to guide the development, characterization, and assessment of young children’s algebraic thinking, particularly at the start of formal schooling. This study will design a curricular framework for developing children’s algebraic thinking across Grades K-2, with a particular focus on understanding how to support the teaching and learning of algebra with students in at-risk settings. Study outcomes will include a prototype Grades K-2 instructional sequence, related assessments, and characterizations of progressions in students’ thinking as they advance through the instructional sequence. The impact of this work would be to provide a critical roadmap for teaching and learning algebra in Grades K-2 that can clarify and deepen the role of algebra in the elementary grades, strengthen current college and career readiness standards and practices, and provide curricular support for elementary teachers in systematically developing children’s algebraic thinking.

Funded by National Science Foundation DRL-1720129 (2017-2020)

Principal Investigators

Maria L. Blanton, TERC
Angela Murphy Gardiner, TERC
Eric Knuth, The University of Texas at Austin
Ana Stephens, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Rena Stroud, Merrimack College

Project Staff

Rachel Hayes, TERC
Karisma Morton, The University of Texas at Austin
Samantha Prough, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Susanne Strachota, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Yewon Sung, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Ranza Veltri Torres, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Advisory Board

Michael Battista, Ohio State University
Bárbara Brizuela, Tufts University
Susan Jo Russell, TERC

Online Presence