**Algebraic thinking - part 1 **

Genuine algebraic thinking starts in the exploration of number patterns in the early years of primary school. Below are some examples of things that children up to the age of 8 years might do that are the beginnings of thinking algebraically.

- Explore and discuss patterns in odd and even numbers

- Understand a statement like ‘all numbers ending in 5 or 0 can be grouped into fives’ and check whether this is true in particular cases, using counters

- On a grid 3 squares wide, colour in the numbers 1, 4, 7, 10, 13 16 … and describe the pattern that emerges (see Figure 20.1)

- Recognise the relationship between doubling and halving

- Put the numbers from 1 to 10 into a ‘double and add 1’ rule and discuss the pattern of numbers that emerges

Examples such as these, none of which uses letters for numbers, are about making *generalisations. *This, as we shall see, is the essence of algebra.