One of my tutoring students had introductory algebra come up in her curriculum (online) and I was surprised. I taught 5th grade math for quite a few years and didn't teach variables, substitution, translating word problems to algebraic expressions. Is this in the common core standards?

I'm not in a Common Core state, but if I remember right, Virginia's standards do call for introduction to variables and algebraic expressions for 5th graders, and solving one and two step equations in 6th grade.

CCSS.Math.Content.3.OA.A.4 Determine the unknown whole number in a multiplication or division equation relating three whole numbers. For example, determine the unknown number that makes the equation true in each of the equations 8 × ? = 48, 5 = _ ÷ 3, 6 × 6 = ? CCSS.Math.Content.3.OA.D.8 Solve two-step word problems using the four operations. Represent these problems using equations with a letter standing for the unknown quantity. Assess the reasonableness of answers using mental computation and estimation strategies including rounding This is what my students are doing in third grade, so it wouldn't surprised at all if that's what 5th graders have to do. Check for yourself...http://www.corestandards.org/Math/Content/5/OA

Thank you, iteachbx. I find the two examples given above reasonable and what I would expect. The fact is that what this student is doing looks exactly like what I taught out of 7th grade textbooks for the beginning of the year.

Yes, algebraic thinking is part of all the lower grades. I realize that. I was just surprised at how the presentation I saw this year was so unlike what I had seen in the past in 5th grade texts.

In 5th we have order of operations and generating rules for functions to then graph on a coordinate grid. We did teach variables last year, but I don't remember if it was part of CCSS or if we did it to prepare for the state test. We taught CCSS, but were tested on the old state standards, which don't align at all.

I teach 5th grade. Yes, it was there before Common Core and it is there in Common Core. Although it is with just a few standards. The students did fine with it last year. There were some Geometry standards that they had more trouble with than Algebra.