This resource is here to help students engage in math talk, practice for the SBAC, PARCC or other standardized tests, and to work through the Standards for Mathematical Practice. In this activity, students decide whether number sentences are true about a given number. If they are not equal, they eliminate the number sentence. You can then have them engage in math talk to defend their thinking, and critique the reasoning of others.
What age group is this for?
This would be most appropriate for first and second graders, and possibly for students that need additional support in third grade. I currently have used these for third grade intervention activities.
Why work on equality activities?
So many students misunderstand what the equal sign means. A big misconception is that the equal sign means “the answer is”, when in reality it means something more like “is the same is”. Fixing this misconception at an early age will be beneficial in higher level mathematics.
In addition, the Standards for Mathematical Practice put a focus on the thinking processes of students. There is also some pretty strong research suggesting that students should be engaged in math talk for at least 60% of your math lesson. Giving students these tasks allows them to form their own thoughts, and then work with a team to defend their thinking. If you make it a regular part of your classroom routine (once a week or every other week) students will become more comfortable with math talk. The puzzles are also fantastic problem solving, critical thinking and deduction activities. This is also a wonderful test prep activity since the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) and Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) assessments are heavy with problems in which students assess the reasonableness of statements given to them.
How long does this activity last?
Depending on the ability level of your students, each individual activity can take anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes. There are 10 total puzzles with 6 prompts each in this resource.
How do I assess this project?
You can assess what the students do individually if you have them cross of the ones that are not equal. You could have them cut them apart to do an “equal” vs. “not equal” sort. If you pull together small groups, you could also assess students on their group work skills and level of participation in their group.
How and when do you use this problem type in class?
There are many ways you can use this activity:
Fast finisher activity
Intervention block activity
Small group work
Homework for students
Gifted and talented small groups
Whole class activity
Parent volunteers can work one on one
Included in this resource:
Information for the teacher pages: CCSS alignment, and a sample lesson plan.
10 puzzles, and 10 answer keys with explanations for the false statements. The puzzles cover the concepts/terms of place value up to double digits. They are entirely visual in the first few puzzles, then as they continue more and more words are included.
These puzzles are challenging, and fun! If you have any questions, or find any problems with your purchase, please contact me as soon as possible so that I may fix any errors.
If you like this activity, try out my reasoning puzzles:
Reasoning Puzzles: Activities to Engage in Math Talk