Writing algebraic expressions (1-step)

Introduced in the Year 6 curriculum as: "Express missing number problems algebraically"

In maths we sometimes use a letter to represent an unknown amount. This is algebra.

We can make algebraic expressions by adding, subtracting, multiplying or dividing this letter.

We often use ? or n as the letter.

Example 1:

Paul has n sweets (this means we don't know how many sweets Paul has - we'll just call it n).

Jim has 2 more sweets than Paul, and Molly has 5 less than Paul.

An expression for the number of sweets that Jim has is n+2. An expression for Molly is n-5.

Example 2:

Jane has ? cousins. Mary has twice as many as Jane, but Keith only has half as many as Jane.

An expression for the number of cousins that Mary has is 2? (this means 2 times ? , but we don't write the times sign because it gets confused with ? Keith has ?|2 (this means ? divided by 2).

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