Children start learning algebra in Kindergarten! It is not the algebra we are used to but they do represent addition and subtraction with objects, fingers, mental images and drawings. As they progress through elementary school they continue to apply abstract principles to mathematics. This makes the transition from numbers to letters much easier for them as they enter middle school. In grade six they apply properties they have previously learned, such as the distributive property and apply those to algebraic equations. It is important for students to work with equations and expressions using manipulatives at first to make this topic more concrete. Here are some examples of algebra in the middle school years.

Algebra Tiles to evaluate expressions

Using hands on equations and a scale to solve equations

Properties of mathematics

Solving algebraic equations