This post provides details about a handout for simplifying rational monomial expressions. It incorporates a couple strategies to make the simplification of rational monomial expressions more accessible. The strategies include address prerequisites skills ahead of time, chunking, and scaffolding. This incrementally walks the students through the steps.
The Pages of the Handout
The handout has 3 pages.
- Page 1 is an initiation with two parts. There is a review of prerequisite skills aligned with the new topic. There is also a preview of the new topic with scaffolding to separate the factors into individual fractions.
- Page 2 provides a Before and Now to draw upon student prior knowledge of simplifying using exponents rules. This is followed by scaffolded steps to separate the expression into individual fractions for each type of term (e.g., Xs). This provides a load reduction for what the student has to focus on.
- Page 3 involves negative and 0 exponents with an additional step to address each.
Access to Handout
Here is a link to the handout.
This post presents a scaffolded and meaning making approach to exponents that are 0 or negatives.
The slide show below presents all 4 pages.
- The handout starts with an initiation to preview the prerequisites for what is presented in the lesson. It also introduces a chart that will be used for discovery.
- Page 2 presents a discovery activity of following a pattern of dividing by 2 down to the 0 exponent. The concept of exponents is presented as the number of occurrences of the base. This leads to the idea of a 0 exponent indicating the base is no longer present, but there is still 1.
- Similarly, on the 3rd page the pattern of dividing continues into negative exponents to show the resulting fractions. The negative exponents are then presented as reciprocals.
- For terms with multiple factors (e.g., 5x vs just x) the students are presented steps to write the factors separately. This unpacks the reason why the negative exponent acts only on one of the factors (unless both are grouped with parentheses).
Access to Handouts
Here is a link to the student handout, and a link to the teacher handout.