## Introduction to Equations – (Meaning Making)

This is a meaning making approach to introducing equations. I will walk through the parts shown in the photo in the space below this photo. (A revised edition of this handout will be used in a video on this topic.) First I explain the difference between an expression (no =) and an equation (has =). An equation is two expressions set equal to each other (21 is an expression). I then develop the idea of a balanced equation and will refer to both sides of the see saw as a prelude to both sides of the equation. I also focus on the same number of people on both sides as necessary for balance. At this point I am ready to talk about an unknown. Here is the explanation I use with the photo shown below.

• I start with the seesaw at the top. The box has some guys in it but we don’t know how many.
• We do notice the seesaw is balanced so both sides are equal.
• This means there must be 2 guys in the box.
• I follow by prompting the students to figure out how many guys are in the box(es) in the bottom two seesaws.
• Finally, I explain that the number of guys in the box is the solution because it makes the seesaw balanced. There are multiple instructional strategies in play.

• Connection to student prior knowledge – they intuitively understand a seesaw. This lays the foundation for the parts of an equation and the concept of equality.
• Visual representation that can be recalled while discussing the symbolic representation, e.g. x + 1 = 3
• Meaning making which allows for more effective storage and recall of information.

## 2 thoughts on “Introduction to Equations – (Meaning Making)”

1. Introduction to Solving Equations | CTSPEDMATHDUDE says:

[…] introduce solving equations by building off of the visual presentation used to introduce equations. The two photos below show an example of handouts I use. Below these two photos I offer an […]

2. Information Processing Analogy – Big Picture | CTSPEDMATHDUDE says:

[…] Connect information to prior knowledge or make it relevant. […]

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