Developing Concepts and Generalizations to Build Algebraic Thinking: The Reversibility, Flexibility, and Generalization Approach


Many students with learning disabilities in mathematics receive their mathematics education in general education inclusive classes; therefore, these students must be capable of learning algebraic concepts, including developing algebraic thinking abilities, that are part of the general education curriculum. To help students develop algebraic thinking, teachers should ask questions in different ways to promote the ability to think algebraically. This article describes three types of questions—reversibility, flexibility, and generalizations—that support the acquisition of broader concepts leading to algebraic thinking. Examples of the question types within the contexts of rational numbers and integers are provided to assist teachers in creating similar questions for teaching mathematics to students with learning disabilities.


Dougherty , B., Bryant, D. P., Bryant, B. R., Darrough, R. R., & Pfannenstiel, K. H. (2015). Developing concepts and generalizations to build algebraic thinking: The reversibility, flexibility, and generalization approach. Intervention in School and Clinic50(5), 273–281. doi:10.1177/1053451214560892