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# Equality and Inequality

Strand: Patterns and Relations
Outcomes: 4, 5

## Curriculum Focus

This sample targets the following changes to the curriculum:

• The general outcome: "Represent algebraic expressions in multiple ways" has changed in that it is being applied from Grade 1 through Grade 12 in the new curriculum; whereas in the 1997 curriculum it had no specific outcomes from Kindergarten through Grade 5. The 2007 curriculum widens the scope of the study of relationships. "The search for possible relationships involves collecting and analyzing data and describing relationships visually, symbolically, orally and in written form" (Alberta Education 2007, p. 8). The latter part regarding the various modes in which relationships could be described is identical to the previous curriculum; however, the addition of "the search for possible relationships" and "describing relationships" expands the field, as can be seen when examining the changes to the specific outcomes.
• The specific outcomes in Grade 1 through Grade 5 are new. The specific outcomes address equality and inequality and writing equations using variables. The former addresses an area of serious need, as research reveals that students' misconceptions of the equal sign were preventing them from successfully understanding and solving for equalities. Students were interpreting the equal sign as "do something," not as "the same as" (Van de Walle and Lovin 2006). Writing equations with variables was often happening in classrooms, but was not always recognized. When students were asked to solve for the box in an equation such as 5 + □ = 9, the box was a variable. So as early as Grade 1 students were often faced with equations with variables. By Grade 3, problem solving sometimes included using a single variable in an algebraic expression. The 2007 curriculum recognizes the students' need to have a clear understanding of equality and inequality right from the start; therefore, it sets out standard expectations for students in elementary grades for the concepts of equality and inequality and the use of variables.

Equality and Inequality addresses the following outcomes from the Program of Studies:

Strand: Number
Specific Outcomes:
 4 Demonstrate and explain the meaning of equality and inequality, concretely and pictorially. 5 Record equalities and inequalities symbolically, using the equal symbol or the not equal symbol.

## What is a Planning Guide?

Planning Guides are a tool for teachers to use in designing instruction and assessment that focuses on developing and deepening students' understanding of mathematical concepts. This tool is based on the process outlined in Understanding by Design, by Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe.

The following steps will help you through the Planning Guide:

See Bibliography for reference information.