How to Write Algorithms for 6th Grade Math

By Adelaide Tresor
Well-written algorithms help students gain confidence to solve problems on their own.

It is important for sixth grade math teachers to remember that students will have difficulty remembering new information and applying the correct procedure to solve each problem. Educators can minimize confusion and frustration by writing clear and simple algorithms for each new mathematical unit. Using the same steps each time to solve similar problems will help students cement the correct process in their minds for easy retrieval during tests and when presented with problems outside the classroom that require math calculations.

Limit the process to no more than three steps. It is difficult for children to remember a longer algorithm at this age.

Demonstrate the explanation provided in each step with an example. Students need to see what is being described as they read.

Include math vocabulary terms with clear definitions. Associating these words with the appropriate algorithm will help students identify key terms quickly in word problems that will help them know what strategy to employ in order to solve the problem.

Explain how students can check their work to be sure the answer they arrived at is correct.

Instruct students to copy the algorithms in their notes and write the steps at the top of worksheets before completing the problems.


Send copies of algorithms home with students. They can be helpful refreshers for parents when they are trying to assist children with homework.

About the Author

Adelaide Tresor has been a technical writer and book editor since 2006. Her work has been published by Thomson Reuters and Greenhaven Press, including several "At Issue" titles. Tresor holds a bachelor's degree in journalism and is also a certified teacher with experience in English, mathematics, chemistry, and environmental science. She currently teaches AP Physics.