Pi Q Math believes that success in algebra starts in the
elementary school years when children are exploring and gaining confidence with arithmetic.  Children who genuinely understand arithmetic at the level where they can express their thinking using words and symbols, and they can explain and justify the properties they are using to solve the problem they are working on have already started building the foundation required to be successful in algebra. 

Algebraic thinking is sprinkled throughout the Pi Q Math day.  When kids are improving their number fluency in Math Rocks, or diving into whole and fractional numbers in Math Lab, Pi Q Math teachers are continually engaging children in the kinds of conversations that are required to develop their mathematical thinking.

Students in 5th grade who have an excellent foundation in arithmetic with whole and fractional numbers are invited to jump more fully into the exciting world of algebra. 

Pi Q Math has developed a curriculum that teaches children how to express a word problem mathematically.  The following classic riddle is absolutely solvable by guessing and checking, and most adults will get the wrong answer initially!  It’s a perfect example of a simple problem that is more easily understood and solved by expressing the problem mathematically and then solving.

  1. A bat costs $1 more than a ball.  Together the ball and bat cost $1.10.  How much does the ball cost?

In parallel, children build an intuitive understanding of solving mathematical equations through a fun puzzle called Balance Benders by The Critical Thinking company.  Through weighing scales and shapes, children develop their own way of thinking about manipulating equations in order to solve for an unknown.

Mastering the foundations of algebraic thinking in the elementary school years is genuinely exciting and empowering for children!


The Teller Math Olympiads team worked together on the classic “1000 lockers” problem.  After an energetic 40 minute discussion, they solved it and gained a deeper understanding of factors and square numbers.

How many balls will balance 2 triangles?

“Countless times, my husband and I find ourselves attributing our son’s mathematical knowledge base to you and all that you have empowered him with.  He has been doing really well in math at school and I can see how often he applies what he has learned at Pi Q Math.”  - Daisy, mother of a child at Stanley British who has completed much of the Math Lab curriculum.