
Algebra, Functions, and Patterns
Approximately 20%30% of the GED Math Test is in the area of Algebra. This includes such things as:
 Understanding the language and symbols of algebra.
 Working with unknowns and variables.
 Evaluating, setting up, and solving equations.
 Using squares and square roots.
 Identifying and applying patterns and relationships.
 Using positive and negative integers.
 Using variables and equations to represent information provided in tables, graphs, and written descriptions.
Algebra is mathematics that uses symbols to stand for unknown quantities. It also provides a way to represent a constant relationship between terms. Just like other types of math, algebra involves solving equations or manipulating expressions that contain symbols  generally variables such as xand y. In fact, a word problem in algebra is like a story problem in basic math.
Just like story problems, algebra problems require that students:
 Identify the information they know and decide what information they need to find.
 Decide which operation or strategy to use.
 Solve the problem.
 Check whether the answer is reasonable and answers the question.
Does this sound like the basic fourstep problemsolving approach?
Teaching Tip:
Have students use letters or symbols to create their own equations. Start with simple math problems and substitute a letter or symbol for one of the digits. For example, change the equation 5 + 8 = 13 to 5 + y= 13. Let the students exchange equations and solve them. Compare the similarities between solving math problems and algebra problems. Both require that you solve a problem for an unknown value.
