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10/20/14

3.1 Simplifying Algebraic Expressions

Brittany Blaska

Part 1: Selecting and Setting up a Mathematical Task


Lesson Component
What are your mathematical goals for the
lesson (i.e., what do you want students to
know and understand about mathematics as a
result of this lesson)?
In what ways does the task build on students
previous knowledge, life experiences, and
culture?
What definitions, concepts, or ideas do
students need to know to begin to work on the
task?
What questions will you ask to help students
access their prior knowledge and relevant life
and cultural experiences?
How will you introduce students to the activity
so as to provide access to all students while
maintaining the cognitive demands of the
task? How will you ensure that students
understand the context of the problem? What
will you hear that lets you know students
understand what the task is asking them to do?
What are all the ways the task can be solved?
Which of these methods do you think your
students will use?
What misconceptions might students have?
What errors might students make?
What particular challenges might the task
present to struggling students or students who
are English Language Learners
(ELL)? How will you address these
challenges?
What are your expectations for students as
they work on and complete this task?
What resources or tools will students have to
use in their work that will give them entry
into, and help them reason through, the task?

Your Notes
SWBAT simplify algebraic expressions.
SWBAT identify like and unlike terms within an expression.
SWBAT combine like terms in order to get the expression in simplest form.
SWBAT find the area of an object and be able model an expression in the form of a diagram.
The task builds on the students skills involving add integers and rational numbers. It furthers their thinking when we take these skills
and use them towards combining like terms. I will be using the phrase You cannot add apples and oranges together to help students
realize that you cannot combine unlike terms. We will be doing an opening activity that is similar to the memory game to help us
identify like terms.
We will discuss the definitions of like and unlike terms. Students also know what simplest form is from chapter 2 dealing with fractions
in simplest form. We will start the discussion talking about the phrase You cannot add apples and oranges. From the chapter 2 test
and the previous journal pages, we have talked about the difference between perimeter and area, which they will need to know to
complete their homework.
I will ask the students what they think the phrase means. When introducing the opening activity, I will ask the students if they have ever
played the memory card game. This may help them understand the directions to the opening activity for identifying like terms.
We will start the discussion talking about the phrase You cannot add apples and oranges and have student brainstorm what they think
the phrase means. This will lead into our definitions of like and unlike terms, which will leading into the memory opening activity. By
explaining the memory opening activity directions, it does not take away from the students learning the skills to identify like terms. I
will walk around and monitor the students to check if they understand the definition of like terms which is necessary to solve the
opening activity. I will ask the students why they have certain pairs and why when they flip over two cards that are different it does not
count. I want to hear reasoning pertaining to the variables and not the integers or rational numbers on the cards. Then we will lead into
the homework for the day. This is when they have their individual work time to complete their homework assignment.
During the memory opening activity, some of the variables have more than two cards. So the pairs that they come up with vary from
group to group. The homework assignment will have only one correct answer, and the pathway to that correct answer is a one step
process for majority of the problems. I think that students may look at common integers or rational numbers instead of the variable
when making their like terms in the memory opening activity and on their homework assignment. The students still have some difficulty
in adding integers and rational numbers so they may make some errors when simplifying the expressions on their homework
assignment.
I have many students who have language barriers in my classroom. Some of them seem to have a trouble understanding what a variable
is. I have already explained what a variable is in many different forms, so I am anticipating this to be a challenge tomorrow more than I
have had to deal with. Once they make the connection that like terms have the same variable and not the number I think that they will
have less trouble with todays lesson. I will go back to the phrase apples and oranges. I will say that a variable takes the place of a
number or things, for numbers of people or fruit or any other example that I think they will relate to.
I am anticipating that many of my students have played the memory game before so I think that they will not have a hard time finishing
the opening activity. We looked at 3.1 journal pages on Friday, so I anticipate that the homework will be a good way for them to get
more practice and they will ask a few questions, but not many. They will have a difficult time with the story problems (29 especially).
They have their journal pages that we finished on Friday that they can use. They will also have their book to show examples on pages
82-83. The memory game will be provided and they can ask me or my mentor teacher if they have any more questions. They will also
have their partner to reason with or ask questions to.

10/20/14

3.1 Simplifying Algebraic Expressions

How will the students workindependently,


in small groups, or in pairsto explore this
task? How long will they work individually or
in small groups or pairs? Will students be
partnered in a specific way? If so, in what
way?
How will students record and report their
work?

Brittany Blaska

During the beginning of the hour, we will have a whole class discussion about what they think the phrase means. This will lead into the
opening activity which they will complete with their partner. This should take the first half of our class so about a half hour including
the opening discussion. Then they will be working on their homework individually or with their partner. They may ask for my help also
if neither partner knows the answer. They have assigned seats and the person sitting next to them is their partner for the entire month.
We change seats at the beginning of every month. I arranged the seating chart so that one of my higher ability students is paired with a
lower ability student. This has shown to be a great plan because I have been having really good discussion between partners in the past
months with different activities.
For the opening activity I will have each student in the pair keep track of all pairs they get on a separate sheet of paper. They will then
turn this in to the finished work bin. Then they will complete their bookwork assignment on lined paper and hand that in as well.
Part 2: Supporting Students Exploration of the Task

As students work independently or in small


groups, what questions will you ask tohelp a
group get started or make progress on the
task?
As students work independently or in small
groups, what questions will you ask tofocus
students thinking on the key mathematical
ideas in the task?
As students work independently or in small
groups, what questions will you ask toassess
students understanding of key mathematical
ideas, problem-solving strategies, or the
representations?
As students work independently or in small
groups, what questions will you ask to
advance students understanding of the
mathematical ideas?
As students work independently or in small
groups, what questions will you ask to
encourage all students to share their thinking
with others or to assess their understanding of
their peers ideas?
How will you ensure that students remain
engaged in the task?
What assistance will you give or what
questions will you ask a student (or group)
who becomes quickly frustrated and requests
more direction and guidance in solving the
task?
What will you do if a student (or group)
finishes the task almost immediately? How
will you extend the task so as
to provide additional challenge?
What will you do if a student (or group)

I will ask them if they remember playing any type of memory game. Then I will ask how they determine if two quantities have like or
unlike terms. They should respond with something about the same variable(s). This will then help them realize how to complete the
opening activity. I will be at the overhead or walking around for students who have questions about the bookwork.
I will ask them how to identify like or unlike terms. I will ask what happens if it is 4y and 4x, are they like or unlike and why? I will
also ask what if one of the two variables are the same, does that mean they are like or unlike? 31mn and 31mp for example.
I will ask the students how you can represent area and perimeter in a diagram. I will also ask them questions to clarify different
misconceptions such as the variables in the expression or the same number and if it makes a difference if they are like or unlike terms. I
will also ask them how to tell what the sign of the terms are; leading to that subtracting a term means it is a negative term.
We will be leading into the distributive property soon and it is touched briefly in the homework assignment. We have also discussed this
in class last week and during the previous chapter. I will ask students if they can think of real life experiences where they have to
combine like terms and use the distributive property other than comparing apples and oranges like in the opening discussion.
During the opening activity, each pair should be having a discussion every time two cards are flipped over explaining why they are a
good match because it is like terms or a bad one and why. I will walk around monitoring the students discussions and keep
reinforcing that they need to be explaining their thinking to each other. Also, since each person is responsible for turning in their own
sheet with the pairs on it they need to know why it works and why the pairs do not work.
I will be walking around and monitoring the students work. Phones should be put away and I will keep reminding that they need to hand
it in. Each student has to have 15 pairs of like terms on their lined paper in order to receive credit. When working on homework students
may listen to music when working quietly but need to have their homework finished before they can have free time.
I will encourage the students to take a deep breath and re-explain the directions of the task. If they have any more confusion I will ask
them what an example of like terms is and what makes them like terms. Then I will do an example of a pair with them in the opening
activity. If they struggle during the homework they can ask questions and I will do them on the overhead.
If students finish early, I will remind them that both people in the group need to be finished before they can move on and both people in
the group should be fully prepared to ask any questions that I have. I will then give them more problems that are at a higher level of
cognitive demand and throw in some distributive problems. I can also ask them to find the area of rectangles that are in the form of
algebra tiles.
I will remind them that they need to have 15 pairs of like terms on their paper. I will also remind them that if they are not on task and

10/20/14

3.1 Simplifying Algebraic Expressions

focuses on nonmathematical aspects of the


activity (e.g., spends most of his or her (or
their) time making a poster of their work)?

Brittany Blaska

finish their work they will receive a zero for their assignment. First I will say how I am concerned because we have a lot of material to
cover in order for them to be successful this year and it is their responsibility to manage their time wisely. I will ask them if there is
anything else that I can do to help them move things along.
Part 3: Sharing and Discussing the Task

How will you orchestrate the class discussion


so that you accomplish your mathematical
goals?
Which solution paths do you want to have
shared during the class discussion?
In what order will the solutions be presented?
Why?
In what ways will the order in which solutions
are presented help develop students
understanding of the mathematical ideas that
are the focus of your lesson?
What specific questions will you ask so that
students willmake sense of the mathematical
ideas that you want them to learn?
What specific questions will you ask so that
students willexpand on, debate, and
question the solutions being shared?
What specific questions will you ask so that
students willmake connections among the
different strategies that are presented?
What specific questions will you ask so that
students willlook for patterns?
What specific questions will you ask so that
students willbegin to form generalizations?
How will you ensure that, over time, each
student has the opportunity to share his or her
thinking and reasoning with their peers?
What will you see or hear that lets you know
that all students in the class understand the
mathematical ideas that you intended for them
to learn?
What will you do tomorrow that will build on
this lesson?

The opening discussion will help students have a definition and example of like and unlike terms. Then I will let them explore with the
opening activity and hopefully that clears up any misconceptions that they may have with the material.
I will pick of the cards from the opening activity and ask for a group to share the like term they got. Then will ask if anyone got
anything different. If they did, we will have a short discussion of why it works or does not work. Students will be encouraged to fix any
incorrect pairs on their sheet before handing it in.
I will pick numbers that have different possible pairs and other pairs that have the same number. I will also pick one that have different
exponents and different variables to see the students different responses. I will be asking and providing incorrect answers so I can
clarify common misconceptions and make students of mistakes to avoid.
I think it is a good idea to first show students a few good pairs of like terms. Then we will address the misconceptions if they have no
already come up. I want to show students the correct way to identify like terms. This way they gain confidence knowing that they did
something write. Then I will address the misconceptions for those students who dont understand why they got it wrong and to help
them clear up any confusion.
I will ask if the variables or the number make the terms alike or unlike. I will ask what if one of the two variables is the same if part of
the quantity is the same or is it different. I will ask how we can think of real life examples of like terms and why is this skill important
for us to understand conceptually.
I will say that my former students thought that this conception was true, what you would say to them to help them correct their mistake
like the error analysis problems we do in the homework. I will ask them if the number is an integer or a rational number does it make a
different if they are like or unlike terms.
I will ask why two different solutions make sense of like terms or if they do not. I will also ask if they can think of a story to explain
why both terms work. (Instead of adding four apples we are taking away three apples. Both of them are apples. )
I will ask them if they can relate it to the discussion we had in the beginning of class. I will ask if some of the pairs they have a like
pairs so 4 cards are like terms.
Once students are done with the opening activity, I will ask them to look at their line piece of paper with all the pairs on it and discuss
with their partners any similarities or differences they can see. With homework we will discuss how to identify like and unlike terms.
They will be discussing with their partner so they will build off of each others ideas and reasoning. Then we have a class discussion
about what we found I will call of different groups and both partners will be responsible for sharing or adding to the discussion. I will
also ask who can think of another term that is a like term to the example we are talking about.
I will be listening to classroom discussions as I walk around and monitor the opening activity. Then we have classroom discussions
where I focus on the students explaining their thinking to the class. We have been working on explaining our thinking as a class and
they have come a long way. It was difficult to get them to change this because usually they are used to just giving the correct answer.
The following day we will be working on adding and subtracting two different expressions which using combining like terms to
simplify the expression.