GEMS Teacher’s Guide for Grades 1-2
Written by Jaine Kopp with Kimi Hosoume
“Algebra for first and second grade?” you ask. “YES!” is the resounding answer.
This GEMS guide is designed to build a foundation in algebraic thinking for students in the early primary grades. Using the compelling context of “Zero the Hero,” students learn the important role zero plays in our number system. In a series of activities, including engaging games and challenges, students solve for unknowns, explore the concepts of equality and inequality, and represent and analyze mathematical situations using algebraic symbols. Throughout the unit, the teacher facilitates classroom discourse and encourages students to explain their thinking. Sample teacher-student dialogues are featured, based on real classroom interactions.
This new GEMS guide makes strong connections to the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) Principles and Standards of School Mathematics as it builds crucial scaffolding for more complex algebraic reasoning in later grades. This guide (and its companion guide for Grades 3-5, Algebraic Reasoning) plants seeds for all students’ success in algebra.