Matching Expressions

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SWBAT translate algebraic expressions by matching verbal expressions with algebraic expressions.

Big Idea

Students work in pairs to match equations and expressions with verbal phrases.

Do Now

10 minutes

Students enter silently according to the Daily Entrance Routine. They find a Do Now on their desk with 3 problems: evaluating an algebraic expression, simplifying an algebraic expression, and an order of operations problem. I select three students with legible handwriting and ask them to do one of the problems on the board and then hurry back to their desk to copy the work. As always, I try to select students who have not yet had an opportunity to put work on the board. After students are given 5 minutes to complete the problems we review together as a class. For each problem, I run through a series of questions like these:

  • Raise your hand if you agree with this answer

This is a check for understanding. If the answer on the board is correct and many students agree, I know many students understand the concept and so I ask,

  • What do you think about the work? Evaluate it. Give your teammate some feedback about one thing you like (i.e. how they showed their work step by step) or about something that is confusing.

I can use these questions to identify misconceptions and common errors.

The first 2 problems reflect the most commonly missed type of problem on the quiz. We review neat and organized ways to show all work including all operations and signs when simplifying and evaluating. Most students answer question 2 incorrectly because they mistakenly think that the term 2a is being distributed. We review that the distributive property indicates a product between a number and a quantity of addends within parentheses. What are the factors in the product? This is also a good opportunity to review vocabulary. 

Class Notes

10 minutes

I distribute Cornell Notes. Students are asked to read the words at the beginning of the notes until they get to the examples. We review the answers to the examples as a class, I alert students that they will be cold called and ask each student for an answer. I stop and wait for questions; usually they are about golf and the fact that a positive number is not a good score.

Then I model how I want students to read and answer each of the sample questions given.  This is a good way to get students talking about the operations and the about the vocabulary. At example c I ask students to tell me if 1 – t is an equivalent expression. This will set them up to think about the subtraction and the order in which the constants and the variables are placed. 


20 minutes

The task involves a list of 15 verbal expressions that need to be translated to algebraic expressions or equations. Students will complete this task by first matching cards, verbal with algebraic expressions. Students are first asked to choose a partner and line up along one of 2 of the aisles of the room. After approving the pair, I hand students the task worksheet, an orange stack of cards with the verbal expressions in the first part and a yellow stack of cards with responses. There are more than 15 yellow response cards, with incorrect distractors, to make the task a bit more challenging. Students must raise their hands once all cards have been matched and I will come by to approve them. After being approved and all answers are correct, they can copy them on their paper and move on to the second part of the task for the ability to earn a homework pass. 

In the second part of the task students review order of operations and evaluate/simplify variable expressions. I use a couple of student Chelpers to assist any classmate working on this review section so that I can focus assisting students struggling to understand the concepts.


10 minutes

Once there are 15 minutes of class left, I begin asking students to write the answers to part one on the board. At ten minutes left, I ask all students to return to their desks. We celebrate the top three groups who finished first and they get a prize. Then students ask questions about the answers on the board. If students completed part 2, they are asked to turn it in for a possibility of earning a homework pass if all answers are answered correctly.