Reflection: Adjustments to Practice Understanding Expressions - Section 3: Independent Practice


Students definitely had some difficulty with this independent practice.  The problem was so open ended that, in some ways, I feel that students were over thinking the questions.  As you can see from the student_work, some students bought into the idea of plugging in values for each of the variables. This helped them to visualize what the purpose of the expression was.  

While students were having some definite struggles, I tried to set the expectation that struggling and not knowing are OK.  I know that as a teacher, I have a tendency to be too helpful and so I wanted to be conscious of that.  As a method of giving students attention when they were in need, I tried to ask them questions that would re-direct them and get them thinking. 

Analyzing the student work led me to see that I needed to have students investigate the meaning of simple expressions involving multiplication.  Students were not able to discern the total number of gallons from the total number of orders in this question.  They did not see that if, for example, there were 10 orders at 5 gallons each that would give them 50 gallons not 50 orders.

See my verbal annotation of student work here:

  Adjustments to Practice: Reflecting on Today's Independent Practice
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Understanding Expressions

Unit 9: Understanding Equations
Lesson 1 of 15

Objective: SWBAT use variables meaningfully to understand what an expression represents in terms of its context.

Big Idea: Variables can stand for a unknown value or range of values. An expression is given meaning by the value of the variables that it contains.

  Print Lesson
Math, Expressions (Algebra), Algebra, variable, coefficient, term, equation
  40 minutes
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