How to write algebraic notation

Home learning focus

In this lesson, you will learn how to write algebraic notation. Algebra uses letters to represent unknown values.

This lesson includes:

  • one video

  • one activity

Learn

Algebra uses letters to represent unknown values. Unknown values are commonly represented by the letters x and y. There are several principles you need to know to be able to use algebraic notation. Find out more in this short video from BBC Bitesize.

BBC Bitesize: How to write algebraic notation
Click to see a step-by-step slideshow.

Click to see a step-by-step slideshow.

1 of 5

How does algebraic notation work?

Let's say that x = 5 and y = 10 in the following equations.

Therefore...

  • x + 2 = 7

  • 3x = 15 (when multiplying don't include the multiplication symbol)

  • 3x + 2 = 17

  • x² = 25

  • 4x² = 100

  • xy = 50

  • 2xy = 100

Useful vocabulary

Read the pages below from Collins for some useful vocabulary and further explanation about how to write algebraic expressions.

Notation and vocabulary

Practise

Activity 1

Worksheet

Complete this worksheet from Twinkl about forming algebraic expressions.

Forming algebraic expressions

Activity 2

Using letters to represent numbers

Click Expressions + in the BBC Bitesize Daily – Maths – Week 1, Year 7: Thursday section.

Using letters to represent numbers

Activity provided by SAM Learning.

Activity 3

Worksheet: Sequences, functions and graphs

Complete this activity from Whizz Education about sequences, functions and graphs.

Sequences, functions and graphs

Click here for the answers.

There's more to learn...

Have a look at these other resources around the BBC and the web.

Bitesize Daily lessons
KS3 Maths
What is algebra?
11 - 14 Maths
Play Nightfall
game
Binge a box set