Introduction to algebra for younger primary students

Algebra ideas

Objective: Students represent and analyze mathematical situations and structures using algebraic symbols.

Materials: calculators

Manipulative Activity: Illustrate general principles and properties of operations such as commutativity using specific numbers. Students learn that the order doesn’t matter when two numbers are added. Using the numerals 1 and 2, demonstrate how 1 + 2 = 2 + 1. Have students use a calculator to show two ways to add each double digit on the calendar and write each equation.

Also, write numbers on standard size paper and then insert the paper into A3-size zip lock bag. Attach a string to the bag so that student can wear it around their neck. Students move around to show the commutative property.

Technology Activity: Students will use the applet, Attribute Blocks, from the National Library of Virtual Mathematics Manipulatives. Depending on the availability of computers for your students, this activity could be done individually, with partners, in groups, or as a class.

Have students go to Changing Places

Paper/Pencil Activity: Depending on the level of your students, you can have them complete this activity individually or with assistance. Here is a possibility:

  • Given a numeral, have student’s string beads representing that numeral on string or channel sticks. Students record the numerals.

Literature Connections:

Ready, Set, Hop
Stuart J Murphy (Scott Foresman, May 31, 1996)