Algebraic Thinking Task Cards: Concept of Equals Task Cards | Distance Learning

Grade Levels
3rd - 5th
Formats Included
  • PDF
  • Google Apps™
52 pages
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Includes Google Apps™
The Teacher-Author indicated this resource includes assets from Google Workspace (e.g. docs, slides, etc.).


This set of 52 algebraic thinking task cards (at 4 different levels) supports the Common Core and other rigorous state standards. Also available in a print format HERE, this version has all the same problems in a fun, digital slide show format!

If you are a person who is using Google and are either projecting work or sharing work to students on computers or Chromebooks, this resource is perfect for you! Are you looking to engage your students? This is a great way to incorporate technology, save paper resources, and deliver quality instruction.

Each problem appears on a different slide. Once you get the file, you make a copy of it (SO easy to do with Google!) and then you are free to get creative! Assign the whole deck to students to work on over the course of a unit. Cut out a small number of slides to share with an intervention group. Assign a certain number of cards to the class to do as a part of a math workshop or guided math station. The sky is the limit--and because it's Google, students can even work at home! The best part? The 52 problems come in four levels...the first cards focus on problems that utilize basic facts or can easily be solved with a simple drawing. The following levels are slightly more sophisticated and require regrouping and other higher level skills. These cards are perfect for third and fourth grades.

The concepts of “equals” is such an essential mathematical concept—and one that is often not taught explicitly in many math programs. Consider the following problem:

5 + 8 = ____ + 3

Students have a good sense of the concept of equals know that “10” goes in the box. Every year, I am shocked by the number of students who think it is “13”—or that the problem can’t be done at all! Many students are programmed to think that the “=“ sign means “find the answer” when, in actuality, it is a sign indicating that the two sides balance. Deep understanding of this helps down the road with algebra and other more advanced math—and also makes a smooth transition to INequalities as well. Moving our “box” (or “variable”, or a letter, or a line, or a question mark) to different places in equations helps students think about numbers and equality and not just filling in the blank. This task card set is geared toward helping students develop this understanding. I tell them that they are doing algebra—and they absolutely love it! Consider doing a few of the early cards as a class to teach the concept and then let your students take off!

The Common Core clearly states that students should be able to solve a variety of real-world math problems where the “variable” moves to different locations in the number sentence. Refer to pages 88 and 89 (Tables 1 and 2) for further clarification.

Download the preview to learn more about this resource and how you would be able to use it with YOUR students! Directions to print the cards to turn them into perfect task cards are also included. Reproducible recording sheets are included as part of the teacher directions. Directions for how to use "One Drive" are also included.


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All rights reserved by ©The Teacher Studio. Purchase of this problem set entitles the purchaser the right to reproduce the pages in limited quantities for single classroom use only. Duplication for an entire school, an entire school system, or commercial purposes is strictly forbidden without written permission from the author at Additional licenses are available at a reduced price.

Total Pages
52 pages
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Interpret a multiplication equation as a comparison, e.g., interpret 35 = 5 × 7 as a statement that 35 is 5 times as many as 7 and 7 times as many as 5. Represent verbal statements of multiplicative comparisons as multiplication equations.
Fluently multiply and divide within 100, using strategies such as the relationship between multiplication and division (e.g., knowing that 8 × 5 = 40, one knows 40 ÷ 5 = 8) or properties of operations. By the end of Grade 3, know from memory all products of two one-digit numbers.
Determine the unknown whole number in a multiplication or division equation relating three whole numbers. For example, determine the unknown number that makes the equation true in each of the equations 8 × ? = 48, 5 = __ ÷ 3, 6 × 6 = ?.
Interpret products of whole numbers, e.g., interpret 5 × 7 as the total number of objects in 5 groups of 7 objects each. For example, describe a context in which a total number of objects can be expressed as 5 × 7.
Multiply a whole number of up to four digits by a one-digit whole number, and multiply two two-digit numbers, using strategies based on place value and the properties of operations. Illustrate and explain the calculation by using equations, rectangular arrays, and/or area models.


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