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Algebra: The basic formulae for your Year 6 classroom

In year 6 students are required to learn the basics of algebra. That’s why we here at Emile have generated tips and activities to aid your teaching in the classroom.

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Alegbra: Introduction

Algebra is introduced to pupils in Year 6 and as part of the national curriculum. Pupils should be introduced to the use of symbols and letter to represent variables and unknown in mathematical situations that they already understand such as; 

Missing numbers, lengths, coordinates and angles 

Formulae in mathematics and science 

Equivalent expressions (for example a + b = b + a) 

Generalisations of number patterns  

Number puzzles (for example, what 2 numbers can add up to) 

The learning outcomes for pupils in Year 6 states that: 

The basic Formulae 🧮

In maths, we use algebra to help us find out what is in an equation. This example can come up in our everyday life to find out simple things such as: 

  • If I had £10 and I have £3.50 left, how much did I spend? 

Although teaching student’s algebra is on the curriculum, this subject can help with further problem solving and logical thinking in later life.  

There are many rules in algebra but the main one within the basics is: Whatever you do to the left side of the equation you must do the right. 

Teaching Algebra 👩‍🏫

Some mathematical concepts can be difficult for children to grasp as you probably know algebra falls into this bracket. Key Stage 1 pupils will have little exposure to algebra but the basics are imperative for later learning.  

Familiarising children with basic algebra equations at the earliest opportunity will aid to lay down the foundations for success with more complex concepts and learning the fundamentals and more in secondary. 

Most children in Key Stage 1 are familiar with their number bonds to 10 and this can prove a good starting point for exposing children to algebra. 

For example, a basic sum such as 7 + 3 = 10, can be changed to 7 + N = 10.

  • You can then ask children to spend a few minutes contemplating what the value of N could be.

The following questions should also help to draw out children’s mathematical knowledge

  • ‘What do you need to add to seven to make ten?’ ‘What do you know that might help?’
  • ‘What do I need to take from six to leave four?’ ‘What do you know that might help?

"Number Line Jump" 💎

A great worksheet that can develop and reinforce the basic algebra formulae, this worksheet shows how to write equations to find “X” in scenarios where Emile is hunting for gems.  

Algebra Games with Emile 🎮

The planet of Mechanus is home to all things Algebra. With a steampunk, metal, aesthetic pupils set off on the adventure with Emile to learn and test their algebra knowledge.

Algebra games with Emile is part of the Learn with Emile app meaning you can set tasks and homework from the comfort of your electronic device and even check your pupil’s work and where they may be struggling. With hundreds of questions on algebra for numerous abilities, it’s a perfect solution to teaching algebra!

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