We have been working hard at really understanding the equal sign. Many students have misconceptions about what the equal sign means. Students often think that the equal sign means the answer comes after. We have been using the balance scale and looking at different types of number sentences to conquer this myth.
Instead of thinking about the symbol as only meaning equal, we have been using the words “the same as.” One side of the equal side is the same as the other side. That is what makes a number sentence equal, balanced, correct, true etc.
We used the balance scale to concretely show what the numbers on either side look like in cubes.
We looked at number sentences where the equal sign was in different places and again, used the scale to concretely show it. Some kids did not believe that you could write a number sentence different ways and think that it is only written as
____ + _____ = _____.
They have memorized facts and still need to work on solidifying their number sense and really understanding what the different parts and symbols mean in a number sentence.
9 = 1 + 8
1 + 8 = 9
1 + 8 = 7 + 2
9 = 9
During our small group sessions in Math Daily 5, kids worked on balance scale mats and cubes to show balanced equations.
We also continued to work on finding different ways to make a number. This helps us when we try to balance number sentences and a part or whole is missing.
If I have 4 + 2 = ?…………. I could put:
4 + 2 = 6
4 + 2 = 2 + 4
4 + 2 = 0 + 6
4 + 2 = 5 + 1
etc…because I know all the combinations to make a number.
Today we looked at another word to explain numbers that are balanced and equal.
We found out true means the same thing as those words and False means our number sentence is imbalanced and unequal.
I didn’t take any photos but we sorted number sentences as True or False…and if they were False, students had to explain how they could make it True.
Do your kids truly understand the equal sign is?