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Year 5 - simple algebra

(15 Posts)
Notcontent Sun 13-Dec-15 20:35:53

My dd is not a maths wizz - but does well at school in maths. She is in year 5 at a state school. We have been doing some extra work at home from a textbook in case we decide to try for selective secondary schools.

Today we tried doing some work where you use a simple algebraic formula for working out one side of a rectangle when you know the perimeter. She did perimeter in year 4 and so understood that part, but really struggled with taking it one step further. I have realised also,they haven't really focused very much at school on setting out their work properly - eg P = 2l + 2d leading to d = whatever

Is my dd's school really rubbish or is that normal?

TeenAndTween Sun 13-Dec-15 20:52:49

I don't think they normally start algebra until y7.

Does she set out work neatly when doing something like adding fractions?

I would work on the two separately - layout on something she can already do, and then algebra.

If I were introducing algebra I'd start with something like comparing weights of apples and bananas.

Notcontent Sun 13-Dec-15 20:58:49

Thanks teen.
Yes, her work can be very neat - when she wants it to be! And she certainly knows how to set out her work properly for fractions (although that comes from kumon, not school).

What you say is reassuring. It just seems that going from the concept of perimeter ( not too hard ) to setting it all out as an algebraic equation is a very long road and not one she has travelled yet, so to speak...

It's a bit depressing given this is the standard expected for many selective schools.

enderwoman Sun 13-Dec-15 21:01:00

Simple algebra is useful for the level 5 SATs and my kids were taught algebra in y6.

My son is in y5 and would probably get confused by watching me manipulate P=2l+2d but could work out d if he drew a picture of a rectangle and labelled it with the length and perimeter.

Notcontent Sun 13-Dec-15 21:02:44

Yes, exactly enderwoman...

spanieleyes Sun 13-Dec-15 21:04:56

It is also the standard expected in state schools but not until year 6 where they children's targets might include:
I can use simple formulae.
I can create and describe linear number sequences.
I can record missing number problems algebraically.
I can find pairs of numbers which complete an equation with
two unknowns.
I can create a list of possibilities of the combination of two

Everytimeref Sun 13-Dec-15 21:11:13

The issue usually isnt the algebra but the concept of inverse operations.
Introducing algebra as apples and bananas can lead to misconceptions.

catkind Sun 13-Dec-15 21:14:18

If you do want to introduce algebra in a fun way, I would highly recommend dragonbox (prob dragonbox 2 rather than the 5+ one at that age - it still starts from scratch). It comes at it from a very gamified way, so some explanation is needed from the other direction to connect it back to real life maths. But for picking up the basic techniques it's super cute.

irvine101 Sun 13-Dec-15 21:21:39

How about these?

mrz Mon 14-Dec-15 05:34:13

Algebra used to find the perimeter is in the Y4 programme of study in the new National Curriculum. It's presented and perimeter = 2(a+b) where a and b represent the dimensions

SisterViktorine Mon 14-Dec-15 06:58:05

I could be wrong spanieleyes but I'm pretty sure finding a missing length of a rectangle when the perimeter is known is in the Y5 curriculum- but not the necessity to express the maths algebraically at that point.

The new test style is just awash with the need to find missing numbers.

ladyvimes Mon 14-Dec-15 08:13:55

You probably wouldn't introduce linear algebra until Year 6 but surely any missing number problem is algebra (as in 5 +? =10).

Also why would using apples and bananas be confusing? I would think that is good progress for learning to form equations as usally letters are used to substitute words (e.g. Force=mass x acceleration, F=ma).

Perimeter is introduced in Year 4 but only as measuring sides and adding. Children in Year 5 are expeced to know that Perimeter is double (length+width) but I have never taught this algebraically.

mrz Mon 14-Dec-15 08:34:20

lougle Mon 14-Dec-15 08:45:28

You might fare better if you use tiny steps in the equation. So:

Perimeter (P) = length (l) + length (l) + width (w) + width (w).

P = l + l + w + w

P= 2l + 2w

Then you could use some lego and use one colour for length, one colour for width and another colour for perimeter.

She'll be able to see that the first two lots of lego are the same combined length as the perimeter. Then you can show her that by taking one away, you can see how long the other one is.

Preminstreltension Mon 14-Dec-15 09:38:08

YY to dragonbox. My five year old really enjoyed it and had no idea that it was maths at all!

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