Thursday, August 2, 2012

Combining Like Terms

This year, I teaching combining like terms really early with my 7th graders.  (Normally, we get to it towards the end of the year.)  It's now in the first unit.  First, we discuss what like terms are and create examples of like terms and unlike terms.  I've always done visuals to help students.  For example, if you have 4x + 8x:



Once we do a few visuals, we then practice with larger expressions, highlighting or drawing different shapes around the like terms.  Make sure students include the sign in front of each term!  My interactive notebook page looks like this:



Page 10 will be for practicing problems.  I'm came up with a couple of activities for centers that will work for combining like terms.  The first was inspired from part of this week's Made 4 Math Monday post on the Radical Rational's blog.  I'm going to write a bunch of like terms on two dice.  One will have all terms with x; the other will have x^2 terms.  Students will roll both dice twice, writing down all 4 terms.  They they will combine the like terms.  I created a worksheet for students to record their answers.

You can download the worksheet from either of my stores: TeachersPayTeachers or Teachers Notebook.

I also made a matching card game for small groups to play as a center activity to practice identifying like terms.  I'm trying to figure out another way to use the cards.  Any ideas? 

You can get the cards and directions here or here.

The last item I created was a Race to the Top Triangle game. The triangles in the bottom row each have a term in them.  Students will combine the two like terms next to each other and write the simplified expression in the yellow triangle directly above the triangles they combined.  They will continue until all yellow triangles are filled in.



The worksheet (and answer key) are in both my stores: TpT or TN.  I'm thinking of making this a center game where the students race to finish fastest.  We'll see!

8 comments:

  1. I absolutely love your race to the top activity. I've never seen this set up before and I'm definitely going to be using this for many different types of practice from now on.

    I also have to tell you that I used it today with my high school kids and they told me that they REALLY liked it (getting them to actually say this is a very big compliment!) They actually asked where I got it from and said they want to do more. So glad you posted this!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so glad to hear they liked it. You really can use it for so many topics! Did you have them race against each other?

      Delete
    2. I didn't have them race because it would be too much pressure for a few of them. But I have four boys that LOVE competition and they got 4 different answers (1 was correct) so I had them go sit together and check their papers off each other line by line to try to figure out who was right. They love doing stuff like that and they work so well together when they all want to be right. They were the ones that said they really liked it :)

      Delete
  2. LOVE your ideas and lessons for combining like terms. Thank you so much for sharing!!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. are there any games on here because that's what I need

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, there is a matching game as well as a race to the top game.

      Delete
  4. You could also play "Go Fish" with the cards.

    ReplyDelete