Solving algebraic equations is a cornerstone in the world of mathematics, and our students often need a systematic approach to navigate this challenge. Here’s a method that makes the process both intuitive and relatable: Identify, Isolate, and Undo.
Identify the Variable: Before diving into the equation, it’s vital that students can pinpoint the variable they’re working with, be it ‘x’, ‘y’, or any other letter. By knowing what they are solving for, they can anchor their strategies around it.
If they have an equation like: 2x + 4 = 18 their first thought should be “I need to solve for x!”
Isolate the Variable: Encourage students to think of the equation as a puzzle. The main goal? Get the variable by itself on one side of the equal sign. This is where the reverse order of operations comes in handy. Remind them to start by addressing any added or subtracted numbers before moving to multiplication or division.
2x + 4 = 18 —- Isolating x is the first step! To do so they must recognize what is being done to the x. First, x is being multiplied by 2. Next, 4 is being added to the product of 2 and x.
Undo the Operations: Once they’ve identified what’s being done to the variable, it’s time to do the opposite, effectively “undoing” the operations.
For 2x + 4 = 18 They need to get rid of the 4 first but undoing what is being done. 4 is being added to the product of 2 and x. To undo students subtract 4 from both sides. This isolates the term 2x and gives 2x = 14. Students then undo the multiplication between 2 and x by dividing both sides by 2.
This approach breaks down the process of solving equations into manageable chunks, allowing students to tackle even the most complex equations with confidence.
This print and go set provides a graphic organizer on solving two step equations along with a partner sheet, and coloring practice sheet that can be utilized to help cover this concept.
The notes guide students through the process of solving two-step equations. Initially, students are directed to isolate the expression containing the variable, highlighting the first step in solving the equation. The notes also provide spaces for students to detail the subsequent steps required to completely isolate the variable
September 27, 2023