Strategy

Algebra Tiles

UDL 2.5 UDL 5.1

Algebra tiles are manipulative objects of different colors or shapes that are used to represent integers and variables. They can be used to add, subtract and multiply integers (both positive and negative) and to show algebraic equations. Algebra tiles provide concrete models for concepts that students may find difficult to visualize using language only.

Ready-to-Use Resources

Manipulatives

Algebra Tiles

These algebra tiles can be printed and cut out for students to use for all types of work with equations and expressions, including solving equations, factoring polynomial expressions, and performing operations with polynomials. They provide both a physical and a visual representation of x2, x, and 1. Included in this resource is a color version of the tiles, with blue representing positive tiles and red representing negative values, as well as a black-and-white version of the tiles.

Grade 9, 10, 11, 12 · Math · 4 pages


Implementation Tips

More Support through Multiple Choice
For students who may need a little more support: when showing the class a series of tiles and asking them to write it numerically (e.g. “What do these tiles represent using integers?”) present it as a multiple choice question with 3 possible answers to choose from.
Using Matching Templates for Beginning Students
For students at a beginning level of numeracy, the teacher can provide templates with tiles on them and students can match tiles to the ones on the template.
Basic Addition and Subtraction
For students who are not yet able to do algebra, they can work at their own level of math, such as adding and subtracting single digit numbers while still using the tiles.

Examples

Positive and Negative Integers
When teaching the addition, subtraction and multiplication of positive and negative integers, give the students a problem (e.g. “2(-2)”) and have students visualize the concept by using the colored tiles to represent the problem.
Algebraic Expressions
When evaluating algebraic expressions, teachers can ask students to use tiles to demonstrate the written expression (e.g. “How would you use the tiles to show 3x + 2 + 2y= ?").
Transferring to Mathematical Expressions
When teaching the addition, subtraction and multiplication of positive and negative integers, the teacher can use an overhead projector to show the class a series of tiles and ask them to write it numerically (e.g. “What do these tiles represent using integers?”)

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