# How structure sense for algebraic expressions or equations is related to structure sense for abstract algebra

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## Abstract

Many students have difficulties with basic algebraic concepts at high school and at university. In this paper two levels of algebraic structure sense are defined: for high school algebra and for university algebra. We suggest that high school algebra structure sense components are sub-components of some university algebra structure sense components, and that several components of university algebra structure sense are analogies of high school algebra structure sense components. We present a theoretical argument for these hypotheses, with some examples. We recommend emphasizing structure sense in high school algebra in the hope of easing students’ paths in university algebra.

## Keywords

Binary Operation Identity Element Mathematical Thinking Algebraic Expression Future Teacher
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© Mathematics Education Research Group of Australasia Inc. 2008