Working with Algebra

Australian curriculum number (ACMNA190; ACMNA191; ACMNA192)

Students explore open tasks that have various solutions or strategies, which focus on developing core algebraic skills while enriching their experiences with using algebra. Students benefit from tackling tasks they do not already know how to do. Through comparing and contrasting ideas and experiences, students develop networks of concepts for themselves.

These lessons consist of stand-alone activities that provide consolidation of algebra skills and optional extension. At a minimum, this sequence is for students who:

  • understand the meaning of simple algebraic expressions such as 5a + 1, 5ab and 2(5a + 1).
  • can combine terms to create new expressions and can substitute values.
  • understand that some ‘equations’ are true for just a few values of the unknown(s), and others (the identities) are true for all values. 

Students who have more algebraic skills will be able to create more advanced solutions.


Lesson 1: Like Terms

This resource contains a collection of tasks focusing on like terms. In the task How Can You Make It?, students create a given expression using a range of provided terms and then share their strategies. In the task Algebra Card Set, students place mathematical operation arrows between expressions to show the relationship between those expressions. In the task Composite Areas, students determine the area of various composite shapes made of squares and quadrants, in terms of given areas.

Lesson 2: Substitution

This resource contains a collection of tasks focusing on substitution. In the task Expressing Relationships, students determine a range of values that make a two-variable equation true. In the task What Can It Be?, students work with an incomplete identity and explore options that will make the identity true. In the task Temperature Conversion, students find values that satisfy the relationship between temperatures expressed in degrees Fahrenheit and temperatures expressed in degrees Celsius.


Last updated June 21 2020.