Solving Equations

(contributor: Rachel Jones)

How does Rachel help her students solve one-step then two-step equations?

  •  Examples of how Rachel teaches her students to solve one-step and two-step equations

4.064 Solving Equations Notes

4.064 Solving Equations Student Work 1

4.064 Solving Equations Student Work 2

4.064 Solving Equations Student Work 3

What are Rachel’s important messages?

In no particular order, the team from our school has learned:

  • What we have done is not new but it brings together a lot of ideas we’ve had for a while about how we can teach algebra.
  • We feel that the New Zealand Curriculum (2007) has gone the right direction with the number and algebra strand being an umbrella over the other ones (i.e. geometry, measurement, and statistics).
  • We realised that we need to introduce algebra through context (e.g., geometry, measurement, fractions) and we have achieved this with our new Year 9/10 programme.
  • We come back to the skills on a regular basis and this need for revisiting skills can be seen in our new Year 9/10 programme).
  • We use the correct terminology right from the beginning.
  • We demonstrate rigour in setting out our working because mathematics is the language of numbers and just like English, mathematics has rules. We show our students how to set out their work vertically and this means they can only use one equals sign per line.
  • We realised that we need to scaffold our students with differentiated levels of work by:

       – Adding skills and knowledge to the toolbox

       – Building on what students already know and revisiting those skills and concepts

       – Reviewing important skills and ideas

       – And extending skills and ideas

  • We’ve noticed that there is no replacement for enthusiasm. If we show passion and excitement for mathematics our students can’t help but become interested too.

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