A Program of The Actuarial Foundation. Aligned with Common Core State and NCTM Standards.
What is an actuary? An actuary is an expert in statistics who works with businesses, governments, and organizations to help them plan for the future. Actuarial science is the discipline that applies math and statistical methods to assess risk. Background photo: © Inga Nielsen/iStockphoto.

Solving the Unknown with Algebra

Pre-Algebra Skills: Using Formulas, Solving for Unknowns, and Manipulation of Equations

Welcome to "Solving the Unknown with Algebra," a new math program aligned with NCTM standards and designed to help students practice pre-algebra skills including using formulas, solving for unknowns, and manipulating equations. Follow the adventures of Rick and Athena as they solve real-world questions through powerful mathematical thinking!

Developed by The Actuarial Foundation with Scholastic, this program provides skill-building activities that use mathematics for real purposes, while motivating students to achieve success in the classroom and in real-world situations outside of school.

Each of the three lessons below is accompanied by fun printables that include a lesson worksheet, bonus worksheet, and take-home activity.

Lesson Plans

Lesson 1: Using Mathematical Models/Proportions
Lesson 1: Using Mathematical Models/Proportions
Students will understand how an equation works like a scale, with the equal sign serving as the balancing point.
Lesson 2: Analyzing Change/Growth and Decay Formula
Lesson 2: Analyzing Change/Growth and Decay Formula
Students will be able to identify what interest is as it pertains to saving and investing, and apply the compound interest formula (i.e., the growth and decay formula).
Lesson 3: Functions and Formulas/Square Roots
Lesson 3: Functions and Formulas/Square Roots
In this lesson, students will understand what a square root is and that squares and square roots are inverse operations and can be used to manipulate equations as long as "whatever is done to one side of the equation is done to the other."
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