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Pre-AP Algebra 1 focuses deeply on the concepts and skills that are most essential for college and career success, so mastery of linear relationships is a major focus of this course.

Linear functions and linear equations are the basic building blocks of many advanced topics in math. Pre-AP Algebra 1 is streamlined to give students the time and space to thoroughly master these concepts and skills.

The course emphasizes these essential practices for building math muscle and confidence:

  • Building conceptual understanding
  • Building procedural fluency
  • Creating, analyzing, and using mathematical models
  • Crafting mathematical arguments

In Pre-AP Algebra 1, students will:

  • Work with their peers to build math knowledge, persevering through challenges and making important conceptual connections.
  • Use authentic applications of math to model real-world problems.
  • Acquire the tools needed for making, testing, refuting, and supporting mathematical arguments.

Areas of Focus

The Pre-AP Algebra 1 instructional resources focus on the following key instructional shifts:

  • Emphasis on linear functions and linear equations: Students develop deep and robust understanding of linear relationships in procedural, conceptual, and applied settings.
  • Focus on authentic applications: Students employ mathematics to model and explain authentic scenarios.
  • Concentration on creating mathematical arguments: Students use evidence to craft mathematical conjectures and prove or disprove them.

Course at a Glance

The tabs below show the four main units in Pre-AP Algebra 1, the recommended length for each unit, and the key topics in each.

Linear Relationships/Nonlinear Relationships


Unit title: Linear Functions and Linear Equations 

Timeframe: 9 weeks

Key topics:

  • Direct variation
  • Slope and rate of change
  • Linear functions
  • Linear equations
  • Scatterplots and lines of fit
  • Linear inequalities

Unit title: Systems of Linear Equations and Inequalities

Timeframe: 5 weeks

Key topics:

  • Graphical and numerical solution techniques
  • Algebraic solution techniques
  • Systems of linear inequalities
  • Modeling with systems of equations and inequalities

Unit title: Quadratic Equations and Functions

Timeframe: 9 weeks

Key topics:

  • Modeling with quadratic functions
  • Algebraic forms of a quadratic function
  • The graph of a quadratic function
  • Solving quadratic equations

Unit title: Exponents and Exponential Functions

Timeframe: 5 weeks

Key topics:

  • Exponent rules and properties
  • Roots of real numbers
  • Exponential growth and decay

Underlying Unit Foundations

These big ideas are addressed across units:

  • The structure of real numbers
  • Functions
  • Linear functions
  • Quadratic functions
  • Solutions

Instructional Resources

Schools that officially implement a Pre-AP course will receive access to instructional resources for each unit. These resources don’t constitute a full day-by-day curriculum. Instead, they provide support and modeling as teachers design instruction for each unit.

Pre-AP Algebra 1 instructional resources include:

  • A course framework, targeted lessons, and practice problem sets for key concepts within each unit that provide guidance and models for teaching the course.
  • Recommendations for targeted Khan Academy® practice to support students in building foundational skills across the units.

Assessments and Feedback

Each unit contains:

  • 2 short online quizzes featuring multiple-choice questions modeled closely after the types of questions students encounter on SAT tests and AP exams. Unit quizzes require students to examine graphs, data, and short texts—all set in authentic contexts—to respond to a targeted set of questions that measure concepts and skills from the unit.
  • 1 performance task modeled after the free-response questions for AP Calculus and AP Statistics. These tasks engage students in sustained problem solving and ask them to synthesize skills and concepts from across the unit to answer questions about a novel context.