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Putting the Strategies to Work

Algebra - Teaching Math with Letters

Where did algebra originate? The first writings on algebra were noted in the 3rd century A.D. when Diophantus of Alexandria used an Arabic term "al-jabr" that meant "the reunion of broken parts." The equivalent of our word algebra gained widespread use after Abu Ja'far Muhammed (c. 800-847) began writing down calculations instead of using an abacus. Just like today’s algebra, Abu Ja’far Muhammed wrote about a science where one restores what is missing and equates like parts with like parts. Sound familiar?

Just like arithmetic, algebra uses equations or math sentences. You can show your students a simple arithmetic equation such as:

3 + 7 = 10 OR three plus seven equals ten

Then you can show your students the same relationship using an unknown or variable, which is often shown by an x.

x+ 7 =10 WHICH MEANS
"What number plus seven equals ten?"

Try your hand at Algebra Jeopardy. Click on each square and read the algebraic statement at the top. Choose the correct question (equation) to match the answer (algebraic phrase).

See how many you can match correctly to become an Algebra Jeopardy master!

Play GED Jeopardy.