Mathematical goals. Starting points. Materials required. Time needed

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1 Level A3 of challenge: C A3 Creating and solving harder equations equations Mathematical goals Starting points Materials required Time needed To enable learners to: create and solve equations, where the unknown appears more than once. To help learners to: recognise that there may be more than one way of solving such equations; teach and learn from each other. Before embarking on this session, we strongly suggest that you use A2 Creating and solving equations. This will ensure that learners are able to solve equations where the unknown appears only once. For each learner you will need: Sheet 1 Creating equations; Sheet 2 Solving an equation in different ways. It is helpful to make OHTs of Sheets 1 and 2 for use in the whole group introduction. Optional: computer programs Balance 1, Balance 2 and Cover up; Sheet 3 Instructions for using the program Balance 1; Sheet 4 Instructions for using the program Balance 2; Sheet 5 Instructions for using the program Cover up. About 1 hour. Level of challenge: C A3 Creating and solving harder equations A3 1

2 Level of challenge: C A3 Creating and solving harder equations Suggested approach Beginning the session 1. Build an equation Write a letter and its value (e.g. x = 2) on the board. You may wish to use an OHT of Sheet 1 Creating equations. Build up an equation, step by step, as in A2 Creating and solving equations. This time, however, include a step that uses the letter itself. For example, you might add 3x to both sides: Add 3x Add 6 2. Check the equation x = 2 4x = 2 + 3x 4x + 6 = 8 + 3x Ask learners to check that the original value for x still fits the final equation. Thus: = 14; = Solve the equation Now, starting with 4x + 6 = 8 + 3x, ask how can we go back and discover the value of x. Ask learners to suggest alternative methods and explore each one. Follow up dead ends as necessary and ask them to explain why they do not lead to a solution. For example: Subtract 6 Subtract 3x 4x + 6 = 8 + 3x 4x = 2 + 3x x = 2 Subtract 3x Subtract 6 4x + 6 = 8 + 3x x + 6 = 8 x = 2 A3 2

3 Subtract 8 4. Create your own equation Give each learner Sheet 1 and Sheet 2 Solving an equation in different ways. Ask learners to use Sheet 1 to: build an equation, operating on both sides with the unknown at some stage; check the equation, by substitution; solve the equation using a different method from the one used to create it. Working in groups 4x + 6 = 8 + 3x 4x 2 = 3x x 2 = 0 x = 2 Subtract 4x Subtract 3x Subtract 8 Add 2 Multiply by 1 4x + 6 = 8 + 3x 6 = 8 x 2 = x 2 = x Learners should now copy their equations onto Sheet 2 and give this sheet to their partner. The partner should try to solve the equation in different ways. The originators should try to help the partners when they get stuck. Encourage learners to help each other as much as possible. As learners get the idea, the structured Sheets 1 and 2 can be discarded and learners may enjoy creating more challenging equations. This activity enables learners at all levels to create equations of varying degrees of difficulty. However, all learners should be encouraged to be adventurous. Level of challenge: C A3 Creating and solving harder equations A3 3

4 Level of challenge: C A3 Creating and solving harder equations What learners might do next Reviewing and extending learning Ask learners to write their favourite creations on the board and invite other learners to solve them. See if several ways can be found for solving each equation. Ask learners to use their mini-whiteboards to write down algebraic equations that correspond to some think of a number problems. This time, include some that involve the number you first thought of. Think of a number, call it n. Multiply it by 7. Add 4. Subtract the number you first thought of. The result is 34. Show me the equation. Now solve it. Further, individual practice at solving equations may be done using the computer software programs Balance 1, Balance 2 and Cover up (available on the DVD-ROM/CD). Balance 1 asks learners to say what operations they must do in order to solve an equation. The computer then carries out these operations. Learners do the strategic thinking, while the computer does the manipulation. Balance 2 is the same as Balance 1, except that learners have to identify appropriate operations to perform, and then carry out these operations themselves. Cover up uses a different strategy for tackling equations. At each step, the learner covers up part of the equation and reasons what number must be hidden. All three programs also allow the user to create equations. Instructions for using these programs are given in Sheets 3, 4 and 5. Learners may like to create examples where both sides of the equation are multiplied or divided by some expression containing the unknown. A3 4

5 For example: Divide by x Add 8 9 x = = x 4 = + 8 x Subtract 5 Square x = 4 x 5 = 1 2 ( x 5) = 1 When unpicking the second equation, learners should notice that the natural thing to do is to square root both sides and obtain the positive root, thus obtaining x = 6 as a solution. Check that x = 4 and x = 6 both satisfy the equation. Point out that squaring may introduce a second solution because, when we square root, we can either follow the positive or negative root. We have to do both to find all the solutions. You may find that learners quickly begin to generate quadratic equations that they cannot yet solve. This is a good springboard for a future session. Level of challenge: C A3 Creating and solving harder equations A3 5

6 Level of challenge: C A3 Creating and solving harder equations BLANK PAGE FOR NOTES A3 6

7 A3 Sheet 1 Creating an equation Name Create an equation in the space below. Remember to show every step. Operations x = A3 Creating and solving harder equations Check that your equation works by substituting the original value of x. Check 3. Solve your own equation. Use a different method from the one you used to create it. Solution A3 7

8 A3 Sheet 2 Solving an equation in different ways 1. Write your equation from Sheet 1 in the space below. Equation 2. Give this sheet to your partner and ask them to solve your equation in as many different ways as possible. A3 Creating and solving harder equations Name of partner Solution 1 Solution 2 Solution 3 Solution 4 3. Correct your partner s work. Did they do it correctly? Talk to your partner about any errors you found and write some comments to help. A3 8

9 A3 Sheet 3 Instructions for using the program Balance 1 A3 Creating and solving harder equations Purpose To give practice at solving linear equations with one unknown in which the unknown appears on either side or on both sides of the equation, using the balance method. The interesting feature in Balance 1 is that the user does the strategic thinking, while the computer does the manipulation. Running the program You are given (or you create) a series of equations. You must decide what has to be done to each side of an equation in order to simplify and eventually solve it. Your decisions are entered using the red buttons. From left to right, these are: add, subtract, multiply, divide, expand brackets (use the distributive law), and combine alike terms. If you change your mind at any stage, you can use the Back button. For example, here is one way to solve the equation 5x 6 = 2x 21 using this program. Click on the red [+] button. Type 6 in the rectangular box on the right and hit Enter. Click on the red [ ] button. Type 2x in the rectangular box on the right and hit Enter. Click on the red [ ] (divide) button. Type 3 in the rectangular box on the right and hit Enter. The solution x = 5 appears on the screen followed by a tick indicating that the solution is correct. A3 9

10 A3 Sheet 3 Instructions for using the program Balance 1 (continued) Along the bottom of the screen there are 20 pink circles indicating that there are twenty equations that you can solve. After you have correctly solved an equation, the colour of the circle changes to green. If you wish, you can make your own equations. Click the Make an equation yourself button, then enter your equation in the small drop-down window. Click the red [+] button. Your equation will now appear on the right hand side of the screen, where it can be solved as before. Equations that cannot be solved will not appear. A3 Creating and solving harder equations A3 10

11 A3 Sheet 4 Instructions for using the program Balance 2 A3 Creating and solving harder equations Purpose To give practice at solving linear equations with one unknown in which the unknown appears on either side or on both sides of the equation, using the balance method. Balance 2 is more demanding than Balance 1, in that you not only need to decide what must be done to each side at each step, you must also type in the result of doing this. Running the program When you have decided what to do for a particular step in solving the equation, but have difficulty writing the correct result of doing this step, click the Help button. The computer will now give the result of doing the step, as in Balance 1. A scoring system is used to discourage you from using this help facility too often. The more often you click the Help button, the lower your score will be. Note: the computer will not mark the solution as correct unless the operations and the results at each step are both correct. A3 11

12 A3 11

13 A3 Sheet 5 Instructions for using the program Cover up A3 Creating and solving harder equations Purpose To give practice at solving linear equations with one unknown in which the unknown appears on one side of the equation. This uses the cover up method. Though not as generalisable as the Balance method, it is simple to use and helps you to interpret equations. At each step you cover up part of the equation and decide what number must be hidden. Running the program The above screen shows how the cover up method may be used to solve the equation: = x 44 Cover up the 87 + x. You can see that the equation takes the form = 7. The missing number must therefore be 4. Drag the cursor over the term 44 and it appears on the line below. Type 4 in the 87 + x box on the right then hit Enter. A green (or red) symbol indicates that the step is correct (or incorrect). If you make an incorrect step, click the red button again. A3 12

14 A3 Sheet 5 Instructions for using the program Cover up (continued) Cover up the 87 + x. Now you have an equation of the form = 4. The missing number must be 11. Drag the cursor over the 87 + x and it appears on the line below. Enter 11 in the box on the right. And so on... Along the bottom of the screen there are 20 pink circles indicating that there are twenty equations that you can solve. After you have correctly solved an equation, the colour of the circle changes to green. If you wish, you can make an equation yourself. Click the Make an equation yourself button, then enter your equation in the small drop-down window. Click the red [+] button. Your equation appears in the larger screen, where it can be solved. A3 Creating and solving harder equations A3 13

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