TES Top 10 Resources: Algebra Introduction

The following collection of resources have been assembled by the TES Maths Panel. They can be downloaded for free by registering on the TES website.

Often pupils are very quick to tell me that they find algebra difficult before even giving it a try, but when introduced to it in the right way they are amazed that it was actually far easier than they thought.  This collection of resources is designed to provide an introduction to algebra topics, making them accessible to all; however, I have tried to include as many adaptable resources as possible so that they can be easily adapted to provide more challenge.

Top 10 resources:

What’s in my bag? Simple algebraic substitution

Age range: KS3 Format: Powerpoint

Every time I use this resource someone in my department will ask me to send it to them. Quick multiple choice quiz on the basic rules of algebra, which is then followed by a code cracker activity using basic substitution.

Maths Vegas Intro to equations

Age range: KS3 Format: Powerpoint

Stealth teaching! Pupils work in teams writing their answers on mini-whiteboards and risking a certain number of points (or poker chips if you prefer…) per question based on how confident they are that their answer is correct. This resource builds up pupils’ skills, from finding missing numbers to using inverse operations to solve one step equations.

This second version also includes two step equations and equations with x on both sides, but both versions are easily adaptable to suit the needs of your class.

KS3 Algebra: find the next term catchphrase game

Age range: KS3 Format: Powerpoint

This catchphrase game can be used by asking pupils to find the next two terms of each sequence as suggested, or to find the nth term of a sequence. An engaging resource that can be used at any stage of a lesson.

Solving equations Top Trumps

Age range: KS3 Format: Word file

My classes love using Top Trumps in their lessons and these are particularly eye catching as they have comic book characters on them. Differentiated into red, amber and green sets, but all using level 4-5 questions so even the most challenging is not too daunting for weaker groups. Unlike many other Top Trumps I have found online, this resource is a word file so it can easily be used as a template to make your own set of Top Trumps cards.

Algebra  – what’s the symbol worth?

Age range: KS2/3 Format: Word file

Some pupils find it easier to grasp algebra using symbols first and then progressing to letters. This worksheet provides that vital confidence boosting practise that some of them need to convince them they can do algebra after all. For the first part of the worksheet pupils must work out the value of the symbol used and a final page gives potential for substitution practice.

Simplifying expressions by collecting like terms

Age range: 11-16 Format: PPT

This excel file randomly generates expressions to be simplified. The great thing about this resource is that you can change the maximum number of terms, different letters used, coefficients and whether or not it uses negatives; all of which means that you can ramp up the difficulty at whatever pace suits you. Very useful.

Algebra Halloween murder-mystery (L3/4)

Age range: KS3 Format: Word file

Who doesn’t love a good murder mystery? Personally, I don’t see any reason why this resource should be restricted to Halloween. It provides a recap of several algebra topics. I would recommend putting each sheet up as a poster and getting pupils to work in small groups to solve the problems around the room.

There’s even one for level 4/5 if your class needs a bit more of a challenge.

Race track game

Age range: KS3-4 Format: Word file

A race track game for pupils to play in pairs using dice and counters. It uses number operations but also includes a blank version of the track where pupils can write the instructions as algebraic expressions. Another option would be to get pupils to write in their own expressions on a track for another pair to play the game on. Simple but effective.

Function machine robots

Age range: KS2/3 Format: Powerpoint/pdf file

An open ended activity with the potential for some display work. Pupils must decide on inputs and functions to write on different parts of the robot. Their robot could be given to a partner to find the outputs giving an opportunity for peer assessment, and encouraging pupils to use more challenging functions.

Co-ordinate mini murder mystery KS3

Age range: KS3 Format: Word

Another murder mystery activity, but this time a mini murder mystery on co-ordinates. It also begins to touch on equations of lines so would make an excellent introductory activity for a lesson looking at y=mx+c.

Emma Weston, Maths Secondary Panel

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