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This lesson is meant to be used as guided notes for an entire class. Students begin by discussing what it means for an algebraic expression to be simplified by relating it to real life: “I bought 3 apples and 5 apples” just does not sound right. We then simplify expressions by combining like terms in an organized way, starting off with positive coefficients and then mixing it up.
The included assignment is based off of the guided notes, but unlike the notes, the students eventually combine like terms without all of the extra organization.