There appear to be an increasing number of algebra questions in the KS2 Maths SATs with two types of question being especially prevalent.
The first is writing expressions. A problem is written in words and children are expected to choose the correct expression to match the problem. For example:
Sam says, “I had £30. I gave some money away.”
Which expression shows how much Sam has left?
a is the amount of money, in pounds, that Sam gave away
Is it: 30 x a, a – 30, 30 + a or 30 – a
If children have not had plenty of experience writing expressions this type of question could be quite mystifying.
The second type of algebra question involves equations with two unknowns. For example:
2x + y = 10
x and y are whole numbers less than ten
What could x and y be?
For those used to algebra this is quite simple, but for children struggling to understand the idea of letters standing for numbers this can be very confusing and much background work needs to have been done before the SATs are taken.