– a key stepping stone toward a complete understanding of algebra. This product is the third of four products that explore the wonderful world of algebraic expressions. The first product, Express Yourself - Part 1: Evaluating Expressions
, focused on what algebraic expressions are, why we use them, how they are different from numerical expressions and algebraic equations, and how to evaluate expressions of varying levels of complexity when given values for the variables. The second product, Express Yourself - Part 2: Writing Expressions
, took the students one step further by switching the focus to how to write and use algebraic expressions from word phrases and then for word problems. This product, Express Yourself – Part 3: Simplifying Expressions
, focuses on simplifying expressions, particularly through use of the Distributive Property and combining like terms. The fourth product, Express Yourself - Part 4: Review and Unit Test
, is a comprehensive review and unit assessment for the concepts learned and taught in the first three. The four products have now also been bundled into Express Yourself - The Complete Unit, which includes all four products at a discounted price
This product, Express Yourself - Part 3: Simplifying Expressions
, contains the following components:
Simplifying Expressions by Combining Like Terms
: Includes a warm-up activity, two pages of guided notes, and a two-page worksheet. The warm-up activity not only gets the students’ creative juices flowing, but also provides the “why” for simplifying expressions by demonstrating how evaluating a simplified expression is easier than a non-simplified one. The guided notes review the terminology associated with an algebraic expression (including the definition of a “term” itself), show what types of terms can and cannot be combined, and allow the teacher to walk the students through the process of combining like terms. The worksheet quizzes the students on the terminology and contains a variety of simplification problems including some with fractions and decimals.
The Algebraic Expression Cheer
: Yes, that is correct, “Cheer”. This cheer, which is also included in Express Yourself - Part 1: Evaluating Expressions
and Express Yourself - Part 2: Writing Expressions
, is a crowd favorite with the students, gets them thinking even further about expressions, and most importantly gets them pumped up for the activities to follow. Do it with the students as often as necessary to keep that enthusiasm going!
: Includes a warm-up activity, two pages of guided notes, and a two-page worksheet. The warm-up introduces the Distributive Property through a real-world example using candy bars. Via the guided notes pages, the teacher reviews the do’s and don’ts of using the Distributive Property, in what situations it works and in what it does not, and the specifics of how it works. The worksheet requires the students to simplify a myriad of algebraic expressions of increasing difficulty using the Distributive Property, and then asks the students to repeatedly distinguish between the Distributive, Associative, Commutative and Identity Properties. Students emerge with a clear understanding of all four properties and how and when to apply them.
Simplifying Expressions by Distributing and Combining Like Terms
: The culmination of all previous activities, this section includes a warm-up activity, two-pages of guided notes, and a two-page worksheet. The warm-up activity returns again to a word problem, for which the students attempt to perform multi-step simplification. The notes pages review the all-important do’s and don’ts of simplifying more complicated expressions, and allow the teacher to walk the students through some guided practice of multi-step simplification. The worksheet tasks the students with simplification of various expressions, some involving fractions and decimals, and concludes with word problems which provide a final demonstration of the power of simplification.
Good luck in your use of Express Yourself – Part 3: Simplifying Expressions
As mentioned above, this product is ideally used immediately after using Express Yourself - Part 1: Evaluating Expressions
and Express Yourself - Part 2: Writing Expressions
If your students are not familiar with how to execute operations in the correct order, you may want to go through part or all of Order of Operations Inundation
to address numerical expressions and PEMDAS prior to tackling algebraic expressions.
If you would like your students to move from algebraic expressions
to algebraic equations
, take a look at Equations With Ned
, a brand new unit that introduces students to one-step equations in an unique and exciting way, and Equation Terminology Puzzles
, which introduces students to the language associated with algebraic equations.
Feel free to also check out a growing number of other products that use poetry, songs, games, worksheets, and assessments to make math fun and help students to learn a variety of common core math standards.
Click here to view Algebraic Equation Products
Click here to view Divisibility Rule Products
Click here to view Elementary to Middle School Transition Products
Click here to view Fraction Products
Click here to view Geometry Products
Click here to view Integer and Order of Operations Products
Click here to view Probability Products
Click here to view Ratio-Rate-Proportion Products
Click here to view Riddle Card Products that Help Retain Math Essentials
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