Introducing the Equal Sign

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Students will be able to write an addition equation using the equal sign.

Big Idea

Students will learn the meaning of the equal sign. Students will practice putting the symbols in the correct place in addition equations.

Problem of the Day

5 minutes

I start each math lesson with a Problem of the Day.  I use the procedures outlined here on Problem of the Day Procedures.

Today's Problem of the Day:

Maddie had 6 bows for her hair. She got 4 more for her birthday. How many bows does she have now?

I set this problem up with some structure to help the students organize their thinking.  I give a blank number sentence to encourage students to write the problem out as an equation.  I also include a picture of a bow with infinite cloner turned on.  If you do not have a SMART Board, you can use the PDF and manipulatives, pictures or students drawings.

Since we do this whole group, I have one student come up and do this problem.  I remind the student to check their work when they are finished and have the class tell if they agree or disagree by showing a thumbs up or thumbs down.  

Presentation of Lesson

25 minutes

I start this by playing a song and video about the equal sign.  Check it out here.  In this song, students are able to see the equal sign and hear that it means the same.  I think this is the most important part of introducing the equal sign.  We want students to remember that equal means the same just like we talked about back when we were talking about more, less and equal. 

I then give two students papers with dots on them that look similar to the dots on a domino.  I have them stand in the front of the room.  I hand another student a paper with a plus sign and place that student in between the others. 

Remember this is a plus sign.  It is the symbol that we use to show that we are adding.  We read this as 6 plus 2.  (I have the students turn their dot papers over to show a number)  This is kind of like a sentence that we use in reading, but it is a sentence with numbers.  A number sentence is called an equation.  Just like a sentence in reading, the parts needs to be in the correct place for it to make sense. We need to keep the plus sign between the two numbers that we are adding.   We put the answer to the right.  In addition we call the answer the sum.  Between the two numbers that we are adding and the answer to the problem is where we put the equal sign.  That tells us that those two numbers added together is the same as this number.

When we are finished, I tell students that they are going to be practicing using an equal sign on an Introducing the Equal Sign Worksheet.   I use the procedures outlined here on the Paper Procedures

Count the pictures. Write the numbers and equal sign to complete each equation.

The first thing the directions tell you to do is count the pictures and write the number to complete each equation.  You also need to write the equal sign.  For the first few questions, the equal sign is there and you just need to trace it.

We work through this paper together.  On the last questions the students need to write in the plus sign and the equal sign.  I model this for the students and point out how important it is that these symbols are in the correct place since they mean different things.  I walk around and make sure that students are correctly counting and writing their equations.  When students are finished with their paper, they can put it in the basket and get their center.


20 minutes

The centers for this week are:


I quickly circulate to make sure students are engaged and do not have any questions about how to complete the centers.   I pull two or three groups during centers and work with them depending on the time they need (5 - 10 minutes).

Today I am focusing on addition with all of the groups.  We are working on writing equations.  I verbally give the group an equation.  I have them write it and then solve it using manipulatives.  With students who are able to do this easily, I also have them try with drawing pictures instead of manipulatives.  

Prior to clean up, I check in with each table to see how the centers are going.  My students have been struggling with getting cleaned up quickly and quietly after centers.  Lately I have been using counting down from 20 slowly instead of a clean up song.  Counting backwards is as critical as counting up. Students need to be able to know the number that comes before, as well as after, any given number (w/i 10, w/i 20, etc.). Counting back is a critical strategy for subtraction.

The students like to count backwards with me as they clean up and I can lengthen or reduce the clean up time based on how students are doing and how much time we have.


5 minutes

To close, I put a student's paper on the document camera a project it on the SMART Board and have that student explain their work.  I have the class read the equation using the words plus and equals.  I mention positive things noticed during centers as well as something that needs to be better next time. 

I review what we did during our whole group lesson.  "Today we learned about the symbol that is used in an equation to show that the two sides of the equation are the same or equal.  Tomorrow we are going to start a series of lessons where we look at the many ways that we can represent a number!"