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A visual proof of the Pythagorean theorem

Pre-algebra is a common name for a course in middle school mathematics in the United States, usually taught in the 7th grade or 8th grade.[1] The objective of it is to prepare students for the study of algebra. Usually, Algebra I is taught in the 8th or 9th grade.[2]

As an intermediate stage after arithmetic, pre-algebra helps students pass specific conceptual barriers. Students are introduced to the idea that an equals sign, rather than just being the answer to a question as in basic arithmetic, means that two sides are equivalent and can be manipulated together. They also learn how numbers, variables, and words can be used in the same ways.[3]


Subjects taught in a prealgebra course may include:

Prealgebra may include subjects from geometry, especially to further the understanding of algebra in applications to area and volume.

Prealgebra may also include subjects from statistics to identify probability and interpret data.

Proficiency in prealgebra is an indicator of college success. It can also be taught as a remedial course for college students.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ In the Introduction to their book on prealgebra.Szczepanski & Kositsky (2008) say that "the math in this book should match what's taught in many middle school classrooms in California, Florida, New York, Texas, and other states." (p. xix)
  2. ^ "A Leak in the STEM Pipeline: Taking Algebra Early". U.S. Department of Education. November 2018. Retrieved May 13, 2023.
  3. ^ Linchevski, Liora (1995). "Algebra With Numbers and Arithmetic With Letters: A Definition of Prealgebra". Journal of Mathematical Behavior. 14: 113–120. doi:10.1016/0732-3123(95)90026-8.
  4. ^ "Gifted and Talented Honors Prealgebra | Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth". cty.jhu.edu. Retrieved 2021-02-10.
  5. ^ Gningue, Serigne Mbaye; Menil, Violeta C.; Fuchs, Eric (June 1, 2014). "Applying Bruner's Theory of Representation to Teach Pre-Algebra and Algebra Concepts to Community College Students Using Virtual Manipulatives". The Electronic Journal of Mathematics and Technology. 8. ISSN 1933-2823.