Now’s the time to begin algebra for elementary age children using word problems. In the first post in this series, I encouraged you to introduce algebra concepts to your children at home through the use of manipulatives to solve expressions. Taking this concept one step further, you can integrate algebra, expressions, and reading through solving word problems. The ability to correctly solve word problems is directly linked to academic success in math and many life skills.
Word problems can be written simply or include more complex mathematical concepts. I encourage you to find examples online of word problems to present to your child or to even make up your own based on your child’s interests. Sports scores and positions can provide good examples for word problems. For example:
In the first play, John ran for 5 yards. In two plays he ran for 18 yards in total. How many yards did John make on his second play? (5 + x = 18; 18 – 5 = 13 yards)
Emily scored 6 goals in 4 soccer games. She scored 1 goal in her first game, 0 goals in her second game, and 2 goals in her third game. How many goals did she score in her fourth game? (1 + 0 + 2 + x = 6; 6 – 3 = 3)
As your child masters beginning algebra skills, you can move to more advanced skills including combining algebra concepts through word problems with distances, coins, money, weight, ratios, percents, fractions, multiplication, and division. Here are some great examples or word problems separated by topic. It is also a great resource for parents to learn terminology and examples to support your child’s math development in school.
What word problem activities do you do at home to support learning algebra? Remember, you can teach algebra for elementary age children using word problems now! The next post in this series will concentrate on algebra examples that include sets.
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