A complete unit with direct instruction to the student, ample practice problems and word problems. Common Core aligned. Great for independent practice/homework.
The unit Problem Solving, Grades 4-5 covers balance problems, equations, part problems, average, and problem solving.
The first lesson, Scales Problems, where students solve scales or pan balance problems, is intended to be somewhat fun and motivational. The balance problems are actually equations in disguise. In the following lesson, students solve some equations, presented as pan balance puzzles. Then we study mixture equations, such as 4x + 38 = 128, once again using the bar model as a visual model.
Next, we study the concept of average and problem solving involving a fractional part of a whole. I have included many bar diagrams and pictorial representations of these problems to help the students.
Later in the unit, there are four lessons on Problem Solving with Bar Models. The problems in those lessons include a fractional part of a whole, a fractional part more, the total is known, one part is more than the other, and so on.
Encourage the student to draw the bar model for the problems, as it is such a helpful tool. Some of the problems here could even be found in regular Algebra 1 textbooks where they would be solved with algebra. However, the bar model enables us to solve them without algebra; yet, it helps students’ algebraic thinking! Essentially, one block in the bar model corresponds to the unknown x in an equation.