What Will You Need for Your Algebra Class?

There are several items that students need to be successful in an algebra 1 math class. There is no reason to spend loads of money on fancy gadgets when all you need are simple items that are both economical and easy to find.

Algebra 1 Shopping List

  1. SHARP Pencils ?Pencils are an obvious algebra necessity. However, at this point in math you will be required to make precise lines to show where lines intersect or where points are located on a graph. Keep your pencils sharp all the time or use mechanical pencils. (HINT: Buy 0.5 mm lead mechanical pencils and lead. The line is sharper and the lead is easier to replace later. Itís best to avoid 0.7mm altogether.)
  2. Good eraser ?A good eraser makes your work neat and easier to understand. (My favorite is STAEDTLER Mars Plastic eraser which is usually found in the drafting section of most office supply stores. Itís awesome!)
  3. Notebook ?Get a note book with GRAPH paper to take notes. Although the beginning of the class wonít require you to graph, about 2/3 of the class will. Donít use this notebook to do homework. Just use it for notes. You can use the same notebook for reference for future coursework. 
  4. Colored pens ?By the end of the first quarter, you will be drawing multiple lines on graphs. If you just write in pencil, it will all start to run together. It also makes your notes look like a real drag! Use colored pens or pencils, to make your notes POP! Highlighters work great to highlight your answer at the end.
  5. Paper ?Buy both college ruled and graph paper. NEVER, NEVER, NEVER do any homework that requires you to use a number line or a Cartesian grid that on ruled paper. By making your own grid, it distorts the lines and might give you false understanding of the material. If you are going to splurge on something, splurge on the paper. It is key to understanding the material. (www.freestonepeach.com makes post-its with grids already printed on them. Very nice!)
  6. Binder with folder - You have to keep all your clean, fresh, crisp paper somewhere! Keep all your handouts handy in its own folder too. Nicely ask your teacher if they would be nice enough to three-hole punch all your handouts.
  7. Ruler ?You will need a good ruler or another straight-edge to draw nice, straight lines.
  8. Algebra Tiles ?Keep your tiles handy so you can refer to them if you get stuck on a problem. 
  9. Simple Calculator ?You donít need a fancy scientific calculator for algebra. However, you will need a calculator that has the basic functions, most importantly square root capabilities. Make sure you chose a calculator that is not so small that you might accidentally hit the wrong keys or so big that it becomes cumbersome. 

    a.  The basic numbers and four main arithmetic functions

    b.  Square root

    c.  The +/- sign is nice but totally optional

Download Algebra Shopping List