5 Summary

This unit has focused on algebraic thinking and helping your students to consider the similarities and differences between algebraic thinking and arithmetic.

In studying this unit you will have identified the importance of clarifying the equals sign as meaning ‘is the same as’ instead of ‘and the answer is’. You will also have considered how to enable your students to develop their reasoning about whether statements are true or false, and whether they are true are they true for all numbers?

You have considered how to help students understand that they are able to work as mathematicians, exploring and producing reasons for whether statements work. They have had to be the ones to judge whether something is true or false. In this way you will have helped your students to grow in confidence as mathematicians using algebraic thinking rather than becoming confused or puzzled when using symbols or generalising.

You will also have seen how reflecting on your teaching is important in becoming better at supporting your students’ learning.

Pause for thought

Identify three techniques or strategies you have learned in this unit that you might use in your classroom, and two ideas that you want to explore further.

4 Moving on to more formal generalisations