Building a Strong Foundation for the Distributive Property

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SWBAT solve two step equations using distributive property and inverse operations.

Big Idea

Students model algebraic expressions where the Distributive Property applies in order to build a concrete foundation for understanding this important property.


10 minutes

Students will complete the Do-Now in their notebooks. Six students will come up to the board to show their work and solutions on the whiteboard for the class to review.

Next, a student will read the objective to the class: SWBAT use Distributive Property to simplify expressions and solve two-step equations. I will ask students to define the word property in a mathematical context, and if they can recall any other math properties that they have learned previously. 

Guided Notes + Direct Instruction

20 minutes

Slides 2-4:

We will spend four minutes completing the True/False questions as a whole group (slides 2-4). Students will raise a fist in the air if they believe the solution is true, and an open hand if they believe the solution is false. To justify/disprove a solution, I will call on student volunteers to come up to the board and check their work by evaluating for the given variable.  

Slide 5:

I will ask students what the three pictures on the top of their notes have in common. Student will respond that all the images depict something that is being distributed (food, mail, candy). I will relate this to the idea of distributive property as a way to express repeated addition. 

Slide 7:

Using the distributive property cards, students will sort the equations into four separate piles based on like terms. We will then stack the similar piles on top of each other. I show students that if we add the cards vertically, we end up with the expression 4m+20. I then show students that distributive property will yield the same expression, with less writing involved. "4(m+5)" represents 4 separate piles of the "m+5" card added together. Students will glue together the expression cards on their notes, and write the equivalent expressions below on their guided notes.

We will complete the rest of the guided notes and practice together as a whole group.

Small Group Activities

25 minutes

Even though the focus of today's lesson was distributive property, a lot of my students were struggling with solving two-step equations, generally. The majority of students easily grasped distributive property, but still needed a lot of guidance to finish isolating the variable. For the next portion of class, students were separated into three groups (High, Middle, and Low) to allow further practice of that skill without distributive property. 

Group A: My high group will work in pairs to complete a two step equation square puzzle from this site. The pieces needs to be cut out and paper clipped together by the teacher before class.

Group B: My middle group will complete a two-step equation crossword puzzle from this site. This activity is a good choice for students who need a little more practice solving equations, but are able to work independently without too much guidance. 

Group C: Khan Academy is a great classroom resource, However you must create an account for this site before you can access its content. Every student in my class has a free account, and I am able to assign individual activities to be completed at home or in school. I frequently use this site as an extension activity.

During today's lesson, I place my lower level and struggling students on computers inside my classroom to complete these two activities on Khan Academy:

One Step Equations (10 minutes)

Two Step Equations (10 minutes)

I have found that this group benefits the most from Khan Academy because this site has repetitive practice and provides instant gratification for correct answers.  


Group Activity

15 minutes
These cards have to be cut up, shuffled, and paper-clipped together before class begins.
  1. Students will play "I have, who has" in groups of 6-8. 
  2. Groups should first simplify the expressions and equations on the cards, then sort the cards in order so that the cards and answers are in consecutive order.
  3. When students believe their order is correct, they should re-distribute the cards to the members of their team and stand in a straight line.
  4. To signal that they are ready, all players on the team should raise both hands in the air. The students will go down the line reciting their cards aloud, "I have...who has".
  5. At the end I will tell the group if they are correct or incorrect. If they are incorrect, another group may steal the floor to answer.

*The video I attached of this activity was taken during Decades Day, so my students are wearing themed outfits -Enjoy!**


10 minutes

I will ask two students to give a 15 second summary of what we learned in class today. Students will then complete the Distributive Property Exit Card. The exit cards should be graded directly after class, and the students should then be grouped by the percentage of correct questions for our next class.