Simplifying Expressions

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SWBAT use properties to generate equivalent expressions.

Big Idea

Can they be alike if they don't look alike?


5 minutes
  • POD

As student enter the room, they will have a seat, take out their Problem of the Day (POD) sheet and begin to work on the question on the SMARTboard. The POD also allows students to use MP 3 continually based on the discussions we have about the problem each day. The first question was chosen to help access students’ prior knowledge

1. Which of these representations does not tell us to multiply?

a. 3(4)

b.  2m

c. r/5

d. 6 ⋅ 7

e. 8 x 10

2. Use mental math to compute.

a. 3 + (17 + 138)

b. 1(1/2 + 4 + 1/2)

c. 5 x 26 x 2

d. 2(13) + 2(7)

e. 5(2 + 10)

f. 231 ⋅ 8 ⋅ 0

There are several errors that are common with this set of problems. 3(4) generally becomes 34, and r/5 becomes 5r. As we discuss the problems, we can highlight the differences between the problems so that students recognize that the multiplcation problems can look differently but still indicate that multiplication is the operation.

  • Learning Target

The target for the day is also on the SMARTboard each day when students enter the room.  The target for today’s lesson is for students to recognize the equivalence of simplified expressions.



30 minutes

To begin to explore recognizing equivalent expressions, we will start by discussing the properties of multiplication and addition to make sure students recognize them and can apply them. We will make a four-shutter foldable to use as a resource for the properties. The shutters will be labed with Commutative Property, Identity Property, Distribution Property, and Associative Property. After we create the foldables, students will put the expressions in #2 of the POD into the proper places on their foldables.  They will also include the solution to each expression and the algebraic examples of each expression. The completed foldable will have the property name on the shutter and the algebraic example of the property, and a numeric example with a completed solution for reference, under the shutter. The foldable will be a resource for them to use as they make decisions about simplifying expressions and expression equivalence.

After we finish the foldable activity, we will do a Think-Pair-Share activity to begin to think about equivalent expressions. The questions are included in the SMART notebook for this lesson. The questions are designed for students to consider what makes expressions equivalent and the process of proving that equivalence. I will uncover one question at a time to promote discussion on each question individually.


5 minutes


The exit ticket will generate two expressions that show equivalence. This formative assessment will show me what students can apply using the properties to determine equivalence. If there is time, we can put some of the exit tickets under the document camera to review. If not, we will use one as a MyFavoriteNo for the POD in tomorrow’s class.

Create and show the equivalence of two expressions that don't look the same but have the same value.