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EQUAL MEANS THE SAME LESSON PLAN Teacher Materials: Chalk and chalkboard or marker and white board Lesson: 1. Draw an equal sign (=) on the board. Ask students if they know what the symbol means. Explain that it is an equal sign, which means that it shows when two numbers are equal or are the same amount. 2. Write 2 + 2 = 4. This means that 2 + 2 is the same as or equal to 4. Ask students if this is true. 3. Write 2 + 3 = 7. This means that 2 + 3 is the same as 7. Ask students if this is true. Explain that when you have an equal sign that the numbers on one side have to be the same amount as the numbers on the other side or they are not equal. 4. Write 3 + 3 = ? and ask students what number should go on the other side to make it equal. 5. Write 4 + ? = 9. Ask students what number would go in the blank to make both sides the same amount. 6. Repeat with a few more problems putting the blank space in different parts of the equation. 7. Write 1 + 3 = 2 + ? Remind students that an equal sign means the same amount. First, we add 1 + 3, which equals 4. Then we have to find a number that would make 2 + ? = 4. What number added to two makes four? Now the same amount is on both sides 1 + 3 = 2 + 2. 8. Repeat with a few more problems putting the blank space in different parts of the equation. Balancing Act What you need: 2 players deck of cards, face cards removed cut a 3×5 card in thirds. On two of the thirds write a + sign. On the last third write an = sign. Shuffle the cards and deal six cards to each player. Stack the rest of the cards facedown in a pile. Each player chooses four cards from his/her hand. The object is to balance the equation by arranging the cards into two addition problems with equal sums. A player earns one point for balancing the equation. Example: a player could place a 7 and a 1 on one side of the equation and a 3 and a 5 on the other (7+1 = 3+5) A player can also place two cards of the same value on the equation to balance it (4+0 = 0+4). At the end of a round, the cards played are placed at the bottom of the deck. The dealer shuffles the cards and gives six more to each player. Play continues in the same way. The game ends when one player reaches ten points. Variation: Children can play a similar game using subtraction or addition and subtraction. Change your “operation cards” so that children can create various balancing equations. Teaching the meaning of equal sign Here’s how I sequence my lesson to develop pupil’s understanding of the meaning of the equal sign. Actually the lesson uses the context of the meaning of equal sign to introduce the students to the meaning of variable intuitively. The students enjoyed it and they said they loved the thinking. Scaffolding was done through questions that engages pupils in reasoning and making decisions. Note that the emphasis of the lesson is not on computations but on thinking and problem solving. I first wrote the equal sign on the board then said What does the equal sign mean? You may use an example to explain your answer. One boy said it means you add or do the operation and provided this example 2 + 10 = 12. I asked the class who agrees with him and 25 out of 35 showed hand. What about in 15 + ____ = 21 + ____? One girl said “It means balance” and explained that 15 plus a number balances with 21 plus another number. When I asked the class who agrees with her 30 out of 35 raised their hand. Everyone’s eyes was on me, waiting for me to say which meaning of equal sign is correct. I just gave them a wink to heighten their curiosity. Now that I got them all thinking, I asked: Do you think you can put just any two numbers in the blanks? With this question I successfully divided the class into two camps: those who say yes and those who say no and everyone is challenged to prove themselves right or prove the other wrong.