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Grades: 4‒7

Students develop early algebraic reasoning skills by writing and analyzing inequality statements. Students use a scale to compare shapes with unknown values from 1 to 5. By observing the behavior of the scale when various shapes are placed onto it, students can represent the relationships between the shapes with algebraic statements that include “greater than” or “less than” symbols. By using logic to analyze these statements, students deduce the value of each shape.

  • Students will use a scale to develop their understanding of inequalities.
  • Students will use the greater than and less than symbols to represent comparisons made on a scale.
  • Students will write inequalities that use shapes in place of numerical values.
  • Students will use logical reasoning to find the unknown values of shapes.

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.

Content Standards

6.EE2, 7.EE4

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This activity is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License: 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.