Algebraic Advancements Through Time

Originating from "al-jabr" (Fink)

Using the History of Algebra in the Classroom

Al-Khwarizmi presented us with two terms that helped develop Algebra.

  • Al-jabr, meaning “completion”, is the process of removing the negative terms.
  • Al-muqabala, meaning “balancing”, is the process of reducing the equation by getting like terms on the same side of the equation and then combining the like terms.

Algebra Tiles is a great way to let the students be introduced to these terms.

The Process of Using the Algebra Tiles

I would have the students first research about the history of Algebra in order to find these terms, then I would give them some problems in order to apply the terms before teaching them how the process goes. Algebra Tiles would be available for students to use if they want them. However, I would definitely use them in teaching the students so that everyone would be able to see how they work.

How Algebra Relates to Other Math Strands

The rules learned in algebra are easily applied throughout the other strands of math. One must know how to apply the rules that are learned in algebra in order to move on to more complex math that is found in calculus and discrete math. Algebra is even used in geometry, being found in the formulas. Without the basics found in algebra, trying to answer math problems later on will be nearly impossible. Algebra can be viewed as the second tier in math, after number systems, properties, and operations. Algebra takes what you learn in the first tier and then builds upon the skills. You will find variables introduced into the problems that, at one time, was all numbers. Variables become very evident in other math strands and are necessary to be able to work with.

Works Cited

Fink, O. (2012, March 20). Timeline of Algebra. Retrieved December 8, 2015, from

O'Connor, J., & Robertson, E. (1999, July 1). Abu Ja'far Muhammad ibn Musa Al-Khwarizmi. Retrieved December 8, 2015, from

Smoller, L. (2001, May 1). Al-Khwarizmi and algebra. Retrieved December 8, 2015, from