Algebra provides a systematic way to represent mathematical relationships and analyze change. Students need to understand the concepts and symbols of algebra, the structures that govern the manipulation of the symbols, and how the symbols can be used to record ideas and events. Students will explore patterns that are linear and quadratic in the first year of algebra and should develop the notion of families of functions. A solid conceptual foundation in algebra should be developed before students engage extensively in symbolic manipulation.
Students will use algebra as a tool for representing and solving a variety of practical problems. The use of manipulatives and graphing calculators will help students develop and attach meaning to abstract ideas. Tables and graphs will be used to interpret algebraic expressions, equations, and inequalities and to analyze functions.