Order Up – Making Algebra Meaningful

My first thought when creating my lessons is how can I get students curious! Sometimes curiosity will come out from Act 1 of a 3 Act math task. Or sometimes it’s from a puzzelly type open activity that makes students struggle.

Here is MY new struggle:

How can I make students curious when teaching collecting like terms, and eventually the distributive property?

Last year’s opener to teach collecting like terms:

  1. Give them a perimeter problem where the sides have an unknown value.
  2. Ask for an expression for the perimeter in terms of x.
  3. Now here is x….find the perimeter.

And that’s it! Every time I do this kids are confused and ask “Why didn’t we just have the value of x to begin with?”

I want a task that makes us curious and need to use like terms to simplify an expression.

Task 1: Order Up

Task 2: Dora to the Rescue

Order Up

Part 1 (Act 1): Being Curious

Continue reading