**Learning Intention**: Students should understand that pronumerals represent variable numbers in expressions and equations. They will also understand what “like” and “unlike” terms are and some of the simple algebraic conventions that mathematicians use.

**Success Criteria:** You will complete a series of tasks, including identifying like and unlike terms and simplifying expressions.

This week we will continue our introduction to algebra. You have already done lots of algebra without knowing it – recognizing and continuing number patterns, finding the missing angle or number and substituting values into equations.

A = the number of letters in your first name (Britt = 5)

B = the number of letters in your family name (Gow = 3)

What does A + B = ? (Britt Gow = 8) See if you can find someone in the class with the same answer as you. Did you both have the same equation?

Now see if you can make A and B equal your age. I am 46 years old, so

8A + 2B = 46. Are there other ways you can make the answer equal your age?

How could you make A and B equal today’s date? Can you make A and B equal your birthdate (day of the month you were born).

Some more algebra for beginners:

Shape times Shape is an activity where you discover which shapes represent which numbers, using a series of multiplication problems.

BBC Bitesize has an introduction to algebra using formulae.

Maths is Fun also has an introduction to algebra which includes a brief explanation with some examples.

Students then need to be able to recognise like and unlike terms. There are some more practise questions at MCA Online: Like and Unlike Terms. Algebra for Children is another site that may assist you to work with like and unlike terms.

Later in the term we will access some more difficult problems:

As each of you have netbooks to use at school and at home, you may like to access the National Library of Virtual Manipulatives site, which has a great range of interactive tasks for year 6 to 8 Algebra. I like the “Coin Problem”;“Factor Tree” and “Function Machine”.

This virtual manipulative from the National Library, Algebra Scales, helps you to solve equations using a balance scales. This one is a little more difficult, Algebra Scales using negative numbers. Remember to do the same thing to both sides of the equation.