Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Interactive Notebooks: Algebra

Because both the Ohio Academic Standards and the Common Core State Standards rely heavily on algebraic thinking in 5th grade, Jamie and I knew we really needed to find an effective, yet simple way to get our students thinking algebraically.  We searched for ways that other teachers were teaching variables and stumbled upon another teacher's blog that we found to be extremely useful!  I Speak Math is a wonderful blog written by a 6th/7th grade math teacher in North Carolina.  She created a graphic organizer specifically for writing linear equations from word problems.  We copied the graphic organizer and glued two into our Interactive Notebooks.  Then, we did a whole page of word problems using it!  We quickly saw the relationship between addition and subtraction and multiplication and division and are now able to write two equations using different operations: a fantastic skill!  

This forces students to really think about the unknown: what they are trying to solve for.  They were able to write two equations: 35 + g = 64 and 64 - g = 35 using two operations.  Bring it on, OAA!
My students loved it so much that they still follow all four steps when solving ALL word problems, whether I tell them to or not (and we did this over a month ago!).  They are getting really great at solving for the unknown.  Once we get into Order of Operations, they will be able to deal with more complex equations.  I can't wait to see what the future holds for us! 

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