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Algebraic Terms

When students learn algebra in fourth grade math, they study the rules of operations. They also gain a better understanding of what symbols represent. They’ll learn how to change and manipulate numbers and symbols and will practice making sure that both sides of an equal sign represent the same value.

Students will spend time learning about expressions. These are written relationships between numbers. They’ll practice using expressions to represent various number relationships and will also learn to use a variable to show that a quantity is unknown. This is often where our idea of algebra seems to become more like what we remember from high school algebra. For example, the unknown quantity might be called “x.” Students will also explore the concept of equations. They’ll solve for an unknown quantity and learn about variables. Another concept that fourth grade students will learn in algebra is the idea of properties. Fourth grade math vocabulary will be extremely important at this level. While they will have already learned the commutative and associative properties of addition and multiplication, now they’ll be asked to take it a step further. Students will need to find expressions or equations that contain an unknown quantity and are equivalent. These properties represent the idea that sometimes numbers can be moved around and will still produce the same sum or product.