## Operations and Algebraic Thinking

Overview

Primary students need the time and space to develop these understandings, and teachers provide this by helping students identify prior knowledge and the connections to new learning. Math learning stations in these areas should be used throughout the entire year to deepen understanding and promote fluency.

Word problems can be tricky, especially when they are taught in a more traditional manner. I've had success using wordless problems with my kindergarteners, but they can and should be used with first and second graders, also. When there are no numbers, students focus on the "action" in the word problem. What is really happening in the problem? Acting the situation out, either with their bodies, or with manipulatives, also helps to put the focus on the "action".

The standards identify fifteen different addition and subtraction situations. Wordless problems lead into discussions of the structure of the word problems (MP7). Rather than teaching strategies, such as guess and check or count on, focus on the structure of the problem. What is happening? Based on what is happening in the problem and their knowledge of how the operations work, students will build an understanding of solving different situations.

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