A Peek Inside: Whats Cookin’? The Meaning of the Equal Sign
Written by Donna Boucher
Donna has been a teacher, math instructional coach, interventionist, and curriculum coordinator. A frequent speaker at state and national conferences, she shares her love for math with a worldwide audience through her website, Math Coach’s Corner. Donna is also the co-author of Guided Math Workshop.
Spring cleaning for teachers is actually in the summertime, right? One of my projects this summer is to print out and bind all of my TpT units. I picked up a spiffy little desktop binding machine, and I’m ready to undertake the task. What’s cool about this project is it gives me a chance to refamiliarize myself with the work I’ve done the past year and a half. It’s been a whirlwind!
The first activity in the unit is a work mat that can be used to build equations with the cards provided. Four sets of cards are included: addition within 10, subtraction within 10, addition from 11-20, and subtraction from 11-20. The sets are labeled Set A, B, C, and D to help keep them straight. You might also want to copy them on different colors of cardstock. Of course you can also combine cards from the sets.
This activity is great for small group instruction or a workstation. It can be easily differentiated by choosing different cards based on student needs. Notice in the pictures below that I also put ten-frames with the activity to provide concrete support. Students choose two cards, place them on the mat, and determine if the equation is true of false. You could have them record their work in their math journal for accountability. There are also work mats with < and > signs in place of the equal sign.
Here’s an example of a true equation
And here is one that is false
The next activity is one of my Capture 4 games. I love Capture 4, because it incorporates strategy, which is great for sharpening problem-solving skills. Two players share the board. Each player needs a handful of markers for the board. I like transparent discs (like the one shown), because you can still see the number underneath. There are two sets of cards–one with addition only equations and one with addition and subtraction mixed. Both sets of cards are played with the same board.
In this example, Player 1 chose the card shown: 3 + 0 = 2 + £. Notice how the ten frames provide support for finding the answer, which is 1. There are four different spaces on the board with the number 1, so players have a choice about where to put their marker. The goal is to get four spaces in a row.
There are two Scoot games included in this unit–one with addition equations from 11-20 and another with addition and subtraction equations from 11-20. Scoot is an engaging practice game that gets students up and out of their desks. There are 36 cards in each Scoot deck to accommodate large classes. Each student, or pair of students, needs a recording sheet. Place the cards around the room. Students go from card to card, solve the equation, and write the solution on their recording sheet. Notice that in the picture I included double ten-frames and counters for concrete support.
On Card 4, the card shown, an 8 makes the equation true. See how 8 is written on the recording sheet for Number 4? The cards and recording sheet can also be placed in a workstation for independent or partner work.
Next up are some good old-fashioned dominoes. Notice that the kiddos have to create true equations when placing the dominoes. There are two sets of dominoes–one with sums to 10 and one with sums from 11-20.
I don’t know about you, but I LOVE games that only require a number cube and a game board. For this game, each player needs a game board. Play alternates, with a player rolling the number cube and placing the number in one of the spaces on the game board. As the board fills up with numbers, if you can’t fill in a space, you lose your turn. I suggest putting the game boards into plastic sleeves and letting the kiddos use wipe-off markers. If you feel that you need accountability, have them copy their equations in their math journal.