This week we worked on solving equations using the AIMS Equality in the Balance activity.
Using a scale isn’t a brand new idea for solving equations, but this activity is pretty cool. The idea is that there are packets of pennies and individual pennies on either side of the scale. You have to solve the equation to figure out what is in the packet.
I found that this activity was awesome for the kids because:
1. They could visualize figuring out how much was in a packet of pennies vs solving for some random letter.
2. They could physically cross off pennies from either side of the scale to make them balance- this helped them understand the reason we have to do the same operation to both sides of the equation.
3. To divide up pennies between packets, students could circle the pennies to create the groups.
I also told the kids that instead of writing the word “packets” every time, we were just going to abbreviate the word as “p”. Again, this helped them put meaning to the variable rather than it being a random letter.