Lesson: Introduction to Using Variables

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Lesson Objective

SWBAT solve equations without variables

Lesson Plan

Materials Needed: Do Now worksheet, white board, dry erase markers, IND worksheet, Example Chart on Signal Words
Vocabulary: operations, equations, variables, signal words
Do Now (3 -5 min): Each student is handed the Do Now worksheet and asked to complete it individually. The Do Now involves addition without regrouping and solving a riddle with letters that are associated with the sum of the addition problems.
Opening (3 min): Teacher says, “Today we are going to begin a new unit. In this unit we are going to learn about solving equations and inequalities with variables. Variables are a letter or a symbol that represents a value in an algebraic expression or equation. [Teacher writes x + 7 = 12 on the board and puts a box/circle round the x to visually represent the variable] Today we are going to work on solving equations in word problem without variables to get familiar with setting up an equation. By the end of this lesson, you will all be able to set up and solve one-step equations. Are there any questions?”
Direct Instruction (10 – 12 min): Teacher then returns to the equation written on the board and says,  “This is an equation. An equation is a mathematical statement that includes two numbers, an operation, and an equal sign; it must be solvable. Mathematical equations are very similar to sentences. They communicate an expression. When someone says, “Wow, that tasted sooo good.” They are communicating that the food they ate is delicious. When we see x + 7 = 12, we know that the two numbers opposite of the equal sign must add up to 12. Who can tell me what an equation is, and give me an example of one without a variable?” Teacher calls on student for answer [prompting questions encouraged].
Teacher then continues, “The reason I stressed equations is because they are our first step in solving the problems we will be working with today. It is essential that we begin to read the word problem and look for the mathematical statement, or equation before we think about the answer. Let me show you what I mean with this problem. I’ll do this one while you watch, then we will do the next one together.”
The teacher writes the following problem on the board and then works through with these steps:
Example 1:  Last Friday Trevon had $29.  Over the weekend he mowed his Granddad’s lawn and received some money for it.  He now has $41.  How much money did he get for mowing the lawn?
Teacher says, “Ok, I’ve read the problem to myself. Now I will read it again…hmm, alright. This problem wants to know how much money Trevon received over the weekend. I know that he had $29 and now he has $41. Hmm…. I am not sure which operation I have to use for this problem. [Teacher shows ‘Which Operation do I use’ Chart]. I can use this chart until I learn more about signal words. Signal words are words in word problems that let me know what operation to put in my equation. Ok after looking at the Signal Word Chart, I learned that I should to subtract 29 from 41. Then I will know how much money his Granddad gave him for mowing the lawn. Let me set up my equation: 49 – 29 = [ Teacher writes this on board and then solves]. Alright, that wasn’t to hard. Let’s review the steps to solving before we do one together.” Teacher writes the following on the board and reviews it quickly with students.
Step 1: Read the problem
Step 2: Determine the question
Step 2: Set up equation 
Step 3: Solve
Guided Practice (8 -10 min): Teacher then completes Example 2 for guided practice. An additional problem can be added if students are having difficulty.
Example 2: At a restaurant, Mike and his three friends decided to divide the bill evenly.  If each person paid $13 then what was the total bill?
Step 1: Read the problem
Step 2: Determine the question         Total cost of bill
Step 2: Set up equation $13 x 4 =
Step 3: Solve                 $52
Example 3: How many boxes of envelopes can you buy with $12 if one box costs $3
Step 1: Read the problem
Step 2: Determine the question         Total # of boxes
Step 2: Set up equation 12 ÷ 3 =
Step 3: Solve                  4
Independent Practice (10 min): Teacher gives each student their own copy of the Independent Practice (IND) worksheet. Teacher circulates the room to answer individual student’s questions. 
Closing (2-3 min): Teacher calls the attention of the students back toward the front of the class to quickly review the answers to the Independent Practice worksheet/ ask what we learned about.

Lesson Resources

IND One Step Word Problems   Classwork
DN addition riddle   Starter / Do Now
Chart Which Operation Should I Use   Exemplar


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