A Learning Activity is a strategy a teacher chooses to actively
engage students in learning a concept or skill using a digital tool/resource.
You may save this Learning Activity to your hard drive as an .html file by
selecting “File”,then “Save As” from your browser’s
pull down menu. The file name extension must be .html.
Phase:
Before/Engage
Activity:
Students will begin by exploring the Illuminations Pan Balance-Expressions online tool with an example problem. They will develop strategies through this example of how to adjust the variable to generate equivalent expressions. The online tool also generates graphs for the two expressions. Students will observe what they notice about the two graphs. Then students are given five problems where they are given two expressions. They adjust the variable value to make the two expressions equivalent. Next students are provided one expression and a given variable value. They use this information to create an expression equivalent to the original expression. The expression they create must be different than the given expression. In this portion of the activity, some exponent and negative values are used to challenge the students. Finally, students are asked what strategies they used to create equivalent expressions, if set 1 or set 2 was more difficult to solve, and any observations about the two graphs they noticed while creating the equivalent expressions. At this point, the teacher should conduct a Think-Pair-Share with the class. Each student should have a partner. Ask the students to compare the expressions they generated in set 2 on their activity page. Are their expressions the same or are they different? Have them record their results and determine what they would like to share with the class. Allow each group to share their results and reasoning with the rest of the class. For more advanced students, this would be a great activity to begin exploring systems of equation problems.
Assessment Strategies:
The teacher will review student answers in Set 1 and Set 2 on the response sheet to evaluate correct usage of the digital tool and to assess understanding of creating equivalent expressions.
Advanced Preparation:
Visit the Pan Balance-Expressions Tool to become familiar with how to use the tool.
Students will need online access to the Pan Balance-Expressions Tool.
Copy the “Balancing Act” student response page.
Variation Tips (optional):
Notes or Recommendations (optional):
Students can write their own two expressions. The expressions can be exchanged with a classmate to determine the value of the variable.
More advanced students can begin to explore systems of equations with the concepts presented in this activity.