Activities at Home

Personal Expressions

Encourage your child to write algebraic expressions to represent everyday situations, using words and letters—no equal signs, please!

What You Need:

  • Paper and pencil

What You and Your Child Will Do:

  1. Your child has learned that a variable is a letter, such as n or r, that stands for a number. Your child has also learned that a mathematical expression that uses a variable is called an algebraic expression.
  2. So, an algebraic expression for:
    • a number (n) added to 12 is n + 12
    • 10 less than the number of tools in a toolbox (n) is n – 10
    • the sum of 9 and 7 divided by a number is (9 + 7) ÷ n
  3. Challenge your child to write algebraic expressions for these phrases:
    • some number (n) plus your child's age
    • 1 less than the number of meals your child ate yesterday (n)
    • 3 less than the number of shoes in your child's closet (n)
    • 8 more than the number of eggs in the refrigerator (n)
    • some number (n) reduced by the number of socks that are in your child's drawer (r)
    • the sum of the ages of all the children in your family (n) divided by a number (r)