Reflection: Advanced Students Combine Like Terms - Section 4: Task


This year I decided to spend more time on simplifying expressions during this third unit. My hope is that it will pay off during the next unit (4: Multi-step equations and word problems). I am including some of the materials I used this year after teaching this lesson on combining like terms and after teaching the distributive property. On this day I decided to have a two station class “work time”.  The first station was the completion of 10 problems, where expressions needed to be simplified. The skills included distribution and multiplication of monomials. Students were to complete the first 5 problems on their clickers. This data allowed me to quickly assess who was likely to move on to the next station on their own and who I needed to watch closely so that I could work to help improve on a skill.

For the second station, students were given a Tarsia Puzzle. This software is free to download and can be found here. Students were expected to work in groups no larger than 3 people. Achievement points were awarded to those who completed the puzzle correctly. Here are the directions given:

-          Work in groups of 3 or less

-          Cut out the pieces.

-          Notice the expressions written on the sides of the pieces.

-          Match sides with equivalent expressions.

-          You may need to reduce.

-          The tape remains at the front of the room.


  Advanced Students: One More Day
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Combine Like Terms

Unit 3: Expressions and Equations - The Basics
Lesson 3 of 23

Objective: SWBAT collect like terms to simplify algebraic expressions by completing a 2 part task with partners.

Big Idea: Students are motivated by achievement points and HW passes to complete a 2 part task of combining like terms to simplify algebraic expressions

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day 42 collecting like terms
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