Welcome to the wonderful world of algebra! At least that’s what I said to the fifth graders a few weeks ago. When I began planning for the introduction of algebra, I decided to incorporate a pretest to see where their current skills were. Boy was I surprised! Most of them couldn’t tell the difference between the greater than or less than signs! Now I know I have my work cut out for me. I was so glad to know where to begin with them, that I thought there might be other teachers who could use the pretests, also. (My little trick for keeping the symbols straight is that Less Than looks like a Lazy L!)
There are three different pretests that I made. The first one is a third of a page and asks the kids to write the symbol that corresponds with the statement. The second half-page pretest asks the students to write what each symbol stands for. The last pretest is a full page that has them match equations and inequalities with the statements that go with them. It was eye-opening for me to see what little knowledge they had of algebra. I hope you find these pretests on equations and inequalities as helpful as I have!