Simplifying Expressions - What are like terms?

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Students will be able to simplify expressions by combining like terms.

Big Idea

Keep it simple – with expressions! This lesson will help students learned to simplify expressions by combining like terms.


10 minutes

Opener:  As students enter the room, they will immediately pick up and begin working on the opener.  Please see my instructional strategy clip for how openers work in my classroom (Instructional Strategy - Process for openers).  This method of working and going over the opener lends itself to allow students to construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others, which is mathematical practice 3.  

Learning Target:  After completion of the opener, I will address the day’s learning targets to the students.  In today’s lesson, the intended target is, “I can simplify an expression by combining like terms.” Students will jot the learning target down in their agendas (our version of a student planner, there is a place to write the learning target for every day). 


55 minutes

Simplifying Expressions Notes: Simplifying Expressions Explore Narrative

Instructional Strategy - How do table challenges work?: Using the quiz applet within the smart software, students are going to participate in an 8 question table challenge on simplifying expressions.  For this challenge, I am going to draw a playing card A-8 to determine which table (each is marked with a playing card A-8) will respond to the question. For these particular questions, students have to pay close attention to signs of terms (mathematical practice 6).

Summarize + Homework

2 minutes

Table Question:  To summarize this lesson, I am going to have students work as a table to create two different pairs of terms – one pair that would be considered like, and one that would be considered unlike.  I want to make sure the first thing students remember from this lesson is what an example of like and unlike terms is.

Homework:  As tables are writing their two pairs of terms, I will pass out the homework.  Students may begin work on their homework after I check their response to the summary activity. Philosophy on Homework