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BALANCE—INTRODUCING SYMBOLS AND EQUALITY

Grades: 4‒7

Students use a scale to develop early algebraic concepts. They determine different ways to place shapes with assigned numerical values on one side of a scale to balance with given shapes on the other side. Students develop the understanding that a symbol, such as one of these shapes, has the same value each time it appears, and that an equal sign means “the same as.”

OBJECTIVES 
  • Students will use a balance to develop early algebraic concepts.
  • Students will understand that a symbol can represent a number, and if the same symbol is used more than once, it still represents the same number.
  • Students will understand that an equal sign means “the same as.”
  • Students will develop strategies for finding different combinations of shapes to balance a scale.

COMMON CORE CONNECTIONS 
Mathematical Practices

(1) Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them; (2) Reason abstractly and quantitatively; (3) Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others; (5) Use appropriate tools strategically; (7) Look for and make use of structure.

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This activity is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/. If you adapt and/or share this activity, you must attribute it to "KCP Technologies, a McGraw-Hill Education Company." You may distribute it only non-commercially under the same or similar license.


This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under KCP Technologies Award ID 0918733, with grant period September 1, 2009 through August 31, 2013. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.
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