Reflection: Developing a Conceptual Understanding Halloween Candy to Zombies - Section 3: White Board Practice


The story of the zombies is more than just a cute neumonic. It helps provide context to the connection between the distributive propery and the definition of multiplication. I found that this is a good time to remind students of their previous understanding of multiplication as "sets of" or "groups of" numbers. 3(5+9), if done according to order of operations is 3(14) which can be understood as 3, 14 times or 14 sets of 3, or 3 groups of 14. We can apply this same thinking to the original problem as 3, 5 times and 9 more sets of 3, etc. The zombie story can provide context: "I give 3 candies each to 14 trick-or-treaters (zombies)" = "I give 3 candies each to a group of 5 zombies and then a group of 9 zombies". This same context can be applied to the variable expression: 2(7+x).  The zombie story helps students make sense of the distributive property even if their foundational concepts are weak.

  Extending the meaning of multiplication
  Developing a Conceptual Understanding: Extending the meaning of multiplication
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Halloween Candy to Zombies

Unit 3: Equivalent Expressions
Lesson 4 of 23

Objective: SWBAT use and understand the use of distributive property with variables.

Big Idea: Students will understand how to represent the distributive property on unknown quantities with variables using a real world context.

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Math, Expressions (Algebra), distributive property with variables, white boards
  54 minutes
variables and
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