Reflection: Connection to Prior Knowledge Ducks in a Row! - Section 3: Mini lesson


The definition of multiplication helps students think about distributive property problems in a different way. After being reminded (breaking down barriers) that multiplication is repeatedly adding equal groupings students may have an easier time understanding smaller groups as well. For example, in 4(x+1) + 2x, 4(x+1) can be thought of as four groups of (x+1) or (x+1)+(x+1)+(x+1)+(x+1), which, when they combine like terms is 4x+4. But once they have  it can also help them understand that 4x is four groups of x or four exes which can be combined or added up with the two groups of x in 2x.

After the Garden Design lesson students should have a better understanding of the area model as well. However, the connection between multiplication and addition of equal groups was more easily applied for my students. 

There are a lot of skills wrapped up in these problems:

  • order of operations
  • combining like terms
  • distributive property
  • parentheses as symbols for multiplication and grouping
  • coefficients (and lack thereof)

The definition of multiplication really helps support all of these ideas at the same time.

  Making conceptual connections
  Connection to Prior Knowledge: Making conceptual connections
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Ducks in a Row!

Unit 3: Equivalent Expressions
Lesson 13 of 23

Objective: SWBAT simplify multiple step variable expressions using distributive property and combining like terms.

Big Idea: Students recognize that they need to follow correct order of operations while simplifying expressions.

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Math, order of operations, Expressions (Algebra), problem solving, combining like terms, distributive property
  54 minutes
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