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Lesson Plan: Its all about balance: Intro to the Pan Balance Method for solving

equations (Part I)
Teachers Name:
Date: Frida
May 1st, 2015
Ari Everts
Level: 5th
Central Focus
To understand that equations should be balanced.
Student Learning Objective(s)/Outcome(s)
I can solve simple equations using the pan-balance method
Informal Assessments Slates to assess
individual students (state/show what they would
do to solve the problem)
Thumbs up/sideways/down during instruction to
check if they are understanding the material or
if it needs to be restated.

Everyday Math has
another source for the
pan-balance examples,
between the money
examples and the
supplied examples there
should be numerous wa
to present this material.
Periodic checks with
thumbs up/sideways/dow
will provide instant
feedback about what
concepts may be

Content Standard
Use variables to represent numbers and write expressions when solving a real-world or mathematical problem
understand that a variable can represent an unknown number, or, depending on the purpose at hand, any num
in a specified set
Write, read, and evaluate expressions in which letters stand for numbers.
Prior Academic Learning & Prerequisite Skills
Knowledge of money system
Mastery of basic operations (addition, subtraction, division, multiplication)
Understanding of fractions/parts
Academic Language
explain how you got that
discuss it with your group

Academic Language
Algebraic expression
Instructional Resources/Materials/Equipment
Smart Board

Slates (Or paper/pencil if student does not have slate)

Launch [Anticipatory set]
Have a student read the I can statement, then launch into hook:
(Tell like a story)
I was at the store, and I wanted some m&ms from the machine (you know, the ones th
you use the quarters with). However, I only had a one-dollar bill, four dimes, six nickels
and five pennies, and the machine only takes quarters. I went to get change from the
cashier, and we were trying to figure out how many quarters I could get in total. So, tal
to your groups and figure out how many quarters my money could equal. (Answer is 7
Show slide in SMART notebook (has money on a pan balance).

Reviewing the money problem
How did you solve it? (Break down the $1 into 4 quarters; Combine dimes,
nickels and pennies to make groups of 25 cents)
Once all the quarters are expressed (7 is the total), how could we show our
same thought process here?
Remove one quarter from one side with every group of 25 cents from th
other side.
Ask, What do you notice about how Im working with my groups? Wh
do you think Im doing it this way? (The money must always remain in
balance! Is there ever an instance when $1 = 75 cents? No!)
How can we relate this to math? (Lets look at 18 how can we show this
number? 3x6=18; 10+8=18; etc). They all equal 18, right? What happens i
it doesnt equal 18? It doesnt work!
Vocabulary Now, when we were working with our money, we set it up in a
particular way. We used an equation, which is a number sentence that
contains a variable. But, how did we know how much each picture
represented? What if someone from a different country came over and
wasnt used to our money system? The pictures were expressions, a gro
of mathematical symbols that represents a number. So the dollar
represented 100 cents, the quarter 25 cents, dimes 10, etc. Whenever an
equation has an expression or variable in it, it is called an algebraic
Pan Balance SMART slides
Marbles thats a LOT so lets count them and write how many we have. H
could we write this? Discuss with your group. (21M) Why did I use M? Its a
algebraic expression. Do the same for the paperclips.
Work through the problem as a whole group. Ask if they need another
example, if so, use 3 blocks = 7 paperclips and 1 block.
Continue to slide of math journal examples. Have students get out slates a
show the problems on there. Have them show you when done. Then have
them talk to their groups.
Instructional Tasks
Learning Tasks
Money Problem (15
Work with teams to Supports
solve the money
Teacher will walk
Vocabulary (5
around the room
Explain method to
listening to
Pan Balance
solving money
conversations and
Practice (15 20
being available to

Extra time: 20
minutes. Use for
extra explanation
or students work in
math journals.

Apply new
vocabulary and
solving methods to
new problems

guide students.
Teacher will review
individual students
504/IEP plan to

Lets talk about our learning target. I can solve simple equations What are
some of the things we need to consider when doing this? (take answers)
Show me with your fingers (5 being highest, 1 being lowest) how you feel abo
this material?
Teacher Reflection

The lesson did not flow exactly as planned, however I was able to adapt on the spot to
what the students needed, therefore causing the deviation from the planned lesson. A
strength was engaging the students by continually asking questions and having them
describe their thought process. A weakness was the presentation of the material. I felt
if my words were not nearly as clear and concise as they could have been, possibly
confusing the students even further. The majority of students were able to do the I
can statement. Some students will need more time, so the following lesson will be
focused on breaking down the steps and reviewing the vocabulary.
Regarding the actual success of the learning outcomes, I wanted students to meet thre
I can solve simple equations using the pan-balance method" (1),
Use variables to represent numbers and write expressions when solving a real-world or
mathematical problem; understand that a variable can represent an unknown number,
or, depending on the purpose at hand, any number in a specified set" (2), and
"CCSS.Math.Content.6.EE.A.2 Write, read, and evaluate expressions in which letters
stand for numbers" (3).
Overall, the students were meant to be able to complete #1 and they were not able to
completely and confidently solve simple equations using the pan-balance method.
However, it seemed like most of the students understood the basic knowledge needed
complete pan-balance problems, like understanding that you may use algebraic
expressions to shorten equations and simplify the solving process. Then coming back
around, students were able to complete most of the components (write and read) but
were unable to complete the evaluations of expressions. It seems like they may just ne
more practice time and examples. However, these examples would not only include
teacher instruction, but student explanations. This may help other students connect
more to the material but seeing it from a peer's perspective.