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Learning Experience/Unit

Solving Basic Equations Using Inverse Operations by St. Lawrence-Lewis BOCES

Grade Levels

Intermediate, 6th Grade


Below is my assessment for this learning process.
Students will write a paragraph explaining how they went about solving the balancing equations in the math game as a website.

Learning Context/ Introduction

The intended audience for this learning experience is sixth grade students. In fifth grade, the way in which the students have learned to solve these types of equations has been a guess and check strategy. If there was an equation such as 5 + x = 9, students are thus far able to say "Five plus what number (x) equals nine, five plus four equals nine, so x = 4." It is important for them to understand now that we are in 6th grade, we are going to learn a new way to solve equations using the inverse.


Four consecutive days with 50-minute periods

Essential Question

Is there more than one way to solve an equation?

Instructional/Environment Modifications

I do not have any students with IEP's in my classroom for math. I do however have AIS Math students of both high and low intensity. To accommodate these students, I have them seated in the front of the classroom and an AIS Math teacher pushes-in to monitor their progress throughout the lessons. I also made sure to allow them to participate using the SMART Board, if they volunteered.


One Step Equations with Inverse Operations

Day 1: Solving One-Step Equations: Addition and Subtraction (Students will be taking notes throughout the PowerPoint Presentation)

  1. Using the PowerPoint presentation on the SMART Board, discuss the meaning of inverse and show an example of an addition equation and a subtraction equation. Discuss the meaning of inverse (opposite).
  2. Discuss the inverses of each of the operations: addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Using the example problem discuss how we would go about solving this equations.
  3. To solve the equation, we use three steps. Step 1: What operation is being used? Step 2: What is the inverse of this operation? Step 3: Use the inverse operation on each side of the equal sign to determine the value of the variable.
  4. Practice using examples of both addition and subtraction. Have students to write the examples and practice solving them in their notes.
  5. Allow chosen students to come up to the SMART Board and discuss their process and write down their work and answers.
  6. Discuss the exception of solving a subtraction equation where the variable is second in the equation.
  7. Complete examples of the exception and allow student participation.

Day 2:What are Algebraic Terms?

Discuss vocabulary:

  • variable- letter representing an unknown number
  • constant- a number
  • expression- constant, operation, and variable,
  • equation- number sentence including constant, operation, variable, and equal sign
  • inverse- opposite

Using Day 2: PowerPoint- Algebraic Terms discuss each of the terms and examples of each.

  • Again students will be taking notes and participating in discussions.
  • The remainder of the period will be used reviewing Using Inverses to Solve Equations with Addition and Subtraction. Briefly review the steps needed to solve these equations.
  • Open the Day 2: PowerPoint- Review of Addition and Subtraction and complete the first example of each addition and subtraction together.
  • Then allow the students to in their notebooks copy each problem down and solve it.
  • Allow student volunteers to come up to the SMART Board and explain their process of solving and what their answer is. Complete all examples.


Day 3: Solving One-Step Equations: Multiplication and Division
Using the Day 3: PowerPoint, review the inverses of each operation and well as the steps to solving an equation. Complete examples together, model how to solve a problem and allow students to take notes, practice examples, and participate using the SMART Board.

Day 4: Review Using Equation Games (pre-selected) on the Internet

  • Using the attachment under related resources, choose websites to visit to review solving equations.
  • Allow students to participate in solving the equations on each site. When using the first site, use the corresponding worksheet created (also under additional resources).



Reflections and Feedback

My Reflection: I believe integrating technology into this lesson truly enhanced it. I found my students much more attentive and excited to learn the content. I would like to adapt the PowerPoints so they are a little more note-taker friendly. My sixth graders are just beginning to take good notes and usually using overheads, I only give them the essential notes. When using PowerPoint presentations, I discovered they wanted to write down everything and had trouble choosing what was important to include in their notes and what was only important to read. I was thinking of choosing a certain color for notes that should be included in the notebook only until they are able to determine importance on their own.

I also found that I was able to include more vocabulary, definitions, and examples than usual.

I was also a little worried that the technology wouldn't be reliable. I know that the overhead and chalkboard will always be there and work. When the technology was being set up in my room before my first class, I couldn't help but worry that something would work; there wouldn't be a signal or something! Luckily, everything worked fine each of the days and I didn't want the SMART Board to leave my room after that.

Student Work

Below are three examples of my student work.
NY Learns Math Student Sample # 3 front.bmp

Related Resource

See attached documents.


Solving Equations
Solving Equations Game


  • variable- letter representing an unknown number
  • constant- a number
  • expression- constant, operation, and variable
  • equation- number sentence including constant, operation, variable, and equal sign
  • inverse-opposite

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