# Free Algebra Tiles

Learning algebra can be difficult for some; using our free algebra tiles allows the students to visually see and physically manipulate abstract ideas.

 Using algebra tiles is just one example of teaching math with manipulatives. You may also like teaching substitution and our popular free fraction strips. If you've never used tiles before, don't worry. We provide all the materials but we also give you step-by-step instructions of how to use them. The instructions even include images that clearly show you how to use them!

To multiply binomials the old fashioned way, use the math foil system.

 How to use the Algebra Tiles - Board Setup

 Using algebra tiles is like building a puzzle. You put some of the pieces across the top, some along the left side, and then you match them up to complete the rectangle. Here is what the board looks like: Students get an opportunity to make the mathematics much more tangible - algebra can be a very abstract concept when students are first learning it. By allowing the students to touch and manipulate the pieces, they will understand the content so muhc better.

 Tiles Example - (x + 3)(x + 2)

In this example we placed (x + 3) along the top and (x + 2) on the left side. Please note that it does not matter which expression goes in which location because multiplication is commutative.

The next step is to fill in center with tiles that match the row and column.

 Tiles Example Completed - (x + 3)(x + 2)

Now simply fill in the center.  You already know x·x = x2, x·1 = x, and 1·1 = 1.  By simply completing the rectange, the students will see and feel these results.  Take a look:

See how the rectangle in the center was completed?  You are simply matching up the columns and the rows (like the math times table).  Now you just add up the center:  x2 + 5x + 6.  Easy, right?