Planning GuideGrade 1
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Equality and Inequality

Strand: Patterns and Relations (Variables and Equations)
Outcomes: 4, 5

Step 3: Plan for Instruction

Guiding Questions

  • What learning opportunities and experiences should I provide to promote learning of the outcomes and permit students to demonstrate their learning?
  • What teaching strategies and resources should I use?
  • How will I meet the diverse learning needs of my students?

A. Assessing Prior Knowledge and Skills

Before introducing new material, consider ways to assess and build on students' knowledge and skills related to patterns and relations. For example:

  • Begin by asking students which is the larger quantity, given two numbers. Repeat this several times.
  • Present some addition facts to 10, e.g., four add three is seven, and ask students if it is true or not true.
  • Say to students, "I am going to give you a number sentence and I want you to write it down, using numbers and symbols." For example, two add eight is 10. Give several of these and then ask them, "How would we write that something is not equal?" Introduce the not equal to symbol if none of the students can identify it. Do the same with greater than and less than by giving some examples, using equal to and not equal to and then asking, "How could we write that something is greater than something else?"

As you do these kinds of activities, it is important to have students verbalize their thinking whenever possible.

Sample Structured Interview: Assessing Prior Knowledge and Skills  Word Document

B. Choosing Instructional Strategies

Consider the following strategies when planning lessons.

  • Provide students with many opportunities to represent number sentences concretely.
  • Students need many opportunities to come to understand that the equal sign represents a relation, not an operation. Use of the words "the same as" for the equal sign will help them see the relation.
  • Balance activities form the basis for understanding equality. Using concrete materials, students can examine how a balance operates like the seesaw in the playground.
  • Students need opportunities to create equations and to identify the equations visually.
  • Expect students to explain, verbally, their answers about equalities and inequalities. Number sentences that demonstrate "is greater than" and "is less than" are known as "inequalities" and students should become familiar with that terminology. Number sentences using an equal sign are known as "equalities."
  • Students should learn to read number sentences from left to right and right to left.

C. Choosing Learning Activities

Learning Activities are examples of activities that could be used to develop student understanding of the concepts identified in Step 1.

Sample Learning Activities
Teaching Equations and Inequalities Download Activities  Word