Planning GuideGrade 5
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One-step Equations

Strand: Patterns and Relations (Variables and Equations)
Outcomes: 2, 3

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 counting.

Ways to Assess and Build on Prior Knowledge

B. Choosing Instructional Strategies

Consider the following general strategies for teaching the use of equations involving a letter variable to represent an unknown number.

  • Build on students' knowledge from the previous grade in using equations with symbols to write addition, subtraction, multiplication and division equations.
  • Discuss the similarities between using a symbol such as to represent an unknown in an equation and using a letter variable such as n.
  • Connect the concrete, pictorial and symbolic representations consistently as students develop and demonstrate their understanding of equations.
  • Use everyday contexts for problems that students can relate to so that they can translate the meaning of the problem into an appropriate equation using a letter variable to represent the unknown number. 
  • Provide a variety of problems for students to express as equations. Include problems that illustrate the various types of addition and subtraction (e.g., change, part-part-whole and comparison) as well as multiplication and division (e.g., of equal sharing, equal grouping, comparison problems and combination)
  • Review the relationship between addition and subtraction number sentences as well as the relationship between multiplication and division number sentences.
  • Have the students create problems for a variety of number sentences illustrating addition and subtraction, including examples of change, part-part-whole and comparison problems.
  • Have the students create problems for a variety of number sentences illustrating multiplication and division, including examples of equal sharing, equal grouping, comparison problems and combination problems.
  • Encourage the students to write equations in various ways to represent the meaning of a given problem.
  • Include examples of equations in which the unknown is on the left or the right side of the equation; e.g., n + 7 = 12, 7 + b = 15, 17 = r – 8, 48 = 6c.
  • Emphasize that the equals sign is a symbol of equivalence or balance of the two quantities on either side of the equation.
  • Use balance scales to represent the equation concretely and focus on the meaning of the equal sign.

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.

Teaching Students to Express a Given Problem as an Equation Using a
Symbol to Represent an Unknown Quantity
Story Translations for Addition and Subtraction Problems Download Activities  Word
Story Translations for Multiplication and Division Problems Download Activities  Word
Creating Problems from Equations Download Activities  Word

Teaching Students to Solve One Step Equations Involving a Symbol to
Represent an Unknown Quantity
Balance Scales and Number Sentences Download Activities  Word
Balance Scales and the Guess and Test Strategy for Solving Equations Download Activities  Word
Pan Balance Scales Using Known and Unknown Weights and Related Equations Download Activities  Word
Virtual Pan Balance—Shapes Download Activities  Word
Virtual Pan Balance—Numbers Download Activities  Word
Open Number Sentences Download Activities  Word