Algebra Study Units

These National Strategies study units are for individuals or groups of teachers who are considering their teaching of algebra at Key Stage Three.

Unit 1: Using a grid method to multiply expressions - This unit discusses ways of using a grid method to help students to multiply a single term over brackets and to find the product of two linear expressions

Unit 2: Transforming expressions and equations - This unit discusses ways of helping students to form equivalent expressions through 'clouding the picture' activities. It also considers two of the teaching principles that help students to use and apply algebra with confidence: providing opportunities for students to express generality asking students to 'find as many ways as you can'

Unit 3: Constructing expressions and equations - This unit discusses some helpful ways of teaching students to construct algebraic expressions, equations and formulae, starting from numerical examples and building up to algebraic examples

Unit 4: Rearranging equations and formulae - This unit discusses ways of using arithmetic to introduce algebraic ideas, specifically of using students' understanding of the laws of arithmetic and inverse operations to help them to rearrange equations and formulae. It also introduces the idea of a 'mental computer screen' to support algebraic manipulation

Unit 5: Collecting like terms - This unit discusses some stimulating activities to help students to practise collecting like terms

Unit 6: Applying skills in the context of ‘pyramids’ - This unit explores how students can use and apply their algebraic skills in the context of 'pyramid puzzles'. The work is developed in four stages: understanding the structure of a pyramid by using numbers collecting like terms constructing and solving equations intuitively constructing and solving equations more formally

Unit 7: Using algebraic reasoning - This unit discusses ways of using magic squares and addition grids to help students to apply algebraic reasoning and for students working confidently at level 5 or above, to prove their results

Unit 8: Generalising from patterns and sequences - This unit examines some ways of using patterns and sequences to help students to generalise

Unit 9: Linking sequences, functions and graphs - This unit discusses some stimulating activities to help students to link sequences, functions and graphs

Unit 10: Classroom approaches to algebra - This unit discusses ways of approaching the teaching of algebra in the classroom. Its purpose is to draw the other units together and to help teachers to reflect on a sequence of one or more algebra units that have been studied, either earlier on the same day or on a previous occasion.

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