I like to use online applets and manipulatives for virtual algebra tiles, but before kids get the hang of it, you really need something that everyone can see and touch.
These giant ones are easy to use on a magnetic whiteboard. After a few demonstrations, students can come up and work through a few practice problems to learn how these manipulatives work.
After that, of course they can get into a technology version of some kind, but I have found that the first introduction just has to be hands-on.
Printable Tiles - Download
Download the algebra tile pages.
So far, I have only assembled positive sets to demonstrate the basics, but if you want them to be reversible like regular algebra tiles, just print a set of red tiles too and place the card stock pieces back-to-back with the magnets between the layers. (Make sure your magnetic tape is double-sided.)
a few Ways to Use Algebra Tiles
Links & Resources
This online file shows how to model different concepts with algebra tiles:
This hands-on applet is a great way to let students explore as a follow-up to using the giant board tiles together:
Here is a free download of standard-sized printable algebra tiles for student desks:
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