Can I create?

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SWBAT to create and simplify expressions.

Big Idea

Can students classify objects and write expressions to represent the objects?


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 allows students to use MP 3 continually based on the discussions we have about the problem each day.

The POD today is designed to introduce students to the idea of combining objects that are not alike. I will ask them to think quietly about how to combine 3 elephants and 4 staplers. After one minute, we will discuss the possibilities for combining the objects. Can you combine them and say we have 7 items? Is that descriptive? Do we know what we have? Is there a better way to combine them? Can we take elephants away from staplers? The goal of the discussion is for students to recognize that objects that are not alike cannot be combined.

  • 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 be able to create and simplify expressions.


25 minutes

To begin our exploration into creating and simplifying expressions, students will work in partners. Each pair will receive a bag of paper clips, color tiles, and centimeter cubes. Students are to sort the objects into three piles and write an expression to represent the piles. For example, a group might write 3p + 4t + 8c to represent 3 paper clips (p), 4 color tiles (t), and 8 centimeter cubes. As students work on their expressions, I would ask if there is a way to combine the items that are different? How would they write an expression for that group? Could they combine 3 paper clips and 2 color tiles? Does anyone offer an expression different from 3p + 2c? Why wouldn’t they just write 5 to represent the object? I want students to realize that they are not like terms and cannot simply be condensed to 5 objects because they are different. Next, I will tell students to rename the paper clips and units (or constants) and the color tiles (or the centimeter cubes) as x. Then students will write their expressions using the variable x (MP2). Partners will then trade bags with another pair and write an expression for the new bag. After writing the next expression, partners will join with another pair to form a group of four. The two bags are combined and the group will write another expression for the combined materials. Students will compare the expressions for the two bags with the expression for the combination of the two bags.


5 minutes

To end class, I will ask students to respond to an exit ticket prompt that will give me an indication as to their understanding of simplifying expressions. Are they able to simplify an expression with more than one operation?

Exit Ticket:

Write an expression that is equivalent to (n + n + n) – n + 4