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Homemade Tiles for Algebra
 Strategy Index | Algebra Index | Regents Exam Prep Center

Description:  Algebra tiles can be easily (and cheaply) constructed.  The tiles shown here were made from colored card stock (3x5 card thickness).  Using the following template, cut out enough tiles to allow students to manipulate a range of problems.

The tile set in the picture includes:

  • positive tiles
18 unit tiles (yellow)
8 "x" tiles (pink)
4 "x" tiles (green)
  • negative tiles
18 unit tiles
8 "x" tiles
2 "x" tiles (all red)


    There is no need to have different colors among the positive tiles.  The positive tiles could all be of one color.  The negative tiles should all be red.  The tile sets are packaged in sandwich bags and enough sets are prepared so that each student in the class has his/her own set.  ( I also produced an "enlarged" tile set with magnets on the back for demonstrations at the chalkboard. Magnetic strips can be found in any craft department. )

     Many of the commercial versions of algebra tiles are made from plastic and possess a "projectile" quality.  I have found that the homemade tiles are seldom "airborne" since they are aerodynamically deficient. : )

*Hint: When making your tile sets, consider asking for assistance from other adults, retired persons, younger children, and student helpers.  My retired mother ("grandma") was most willing to assist in making these manipulatives.


Template for homemade tiles for algebra:

If you would like a grid to use as a template to create your tiles, click on the Download Template at the right.  A larger (full page) grid, suitable for printing, will appear in .pdf format.

If your copy machine can process card stock paper, you can transfer the template directly to the card stock.  If not, you may need to measure and cut the tiles by hand.

Template was modeled after template appearing in CORD Applied Mathematics-Unit 23.  

Download Template:


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