– a key mathematical stepping stone toward a complete understanding of and appreciation for algebra. This FREE product provides a challenging puzzle for sixth and seventh graders or pre-algebra students to tackle when they are nearing the end of a unit on algebraic expressions (see below for more on such a unit). To solve the puzzle, students simplify
20 different expressions using the Distributive Property
and by combining like terms
, group together the letters associated with each simplified expression at the bottom of the page, and then unscramble the letters to answer the question posed at the beginning of the puzzle. To do the puzzle, students should be well acquainted with simplifying expressions, including those with fractions and decimals, but need not
know how to handle expressions with negative numbers. The puzzle can be completed in one class period.
This product is part of a series of products on algebraic expressions
. These products answer questions such as:
- What delineates an algebraic expression from a numerical expression or from an algebraic equation?
- Why would we choose to use an expression with one or more variables in it when we could just fall back on those reliable expressions with plain old numbers that we have used for the first several years of our schooling?
- Where are some key areas (areas of geometric figures, temperature, science formulas, etc.) where we may already be using algebraic expressions without being aware of it?
- How and why do we use algebraic expressions to evaluate problems?
- How do we write expressions for word problems?
- What numerical properties help us to write expressions?
- How can we make expressions simpler and easier to use?
All of these questions are key to establishing not only a student’s understanding
of algebra, but also his or her buy-in
to algebraic concepts and desire
to learn more. Establishing a foundation with algebraic expressions can mean the difference between, “I get it! This stuff is cool!”
and, “Get these letters away from me. Math is about numbers!”
Other products which may be purchased regarding algebraic expressions include:
Express Yourself - Part 1: Evaluating Expressions
: Focuses 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.
Express Yourself - Part 2: Writing Expressions
: Takes students one step further by switching the focus to how to write and use algebraic expressions from word phrases and then for word problems.
Express Yourself - Part 3: Simplifying Expressions
: Focuses on simplifying expressions, particularly through use of the Distributive Property and Combining Like Terms.
Express Yourself - Part 4: Review and Unit Test
: A comprehensive review and unit assessment for the concepts learned and taught in the first three products.
Express Yourself - The Complete Unit
: A bundled, reduced-price version of the four products listed above.
Good luck in your use of the Express Yourself - Simplification Challenge!
If you would like your students to move from algebraic expressions to algebraic equations, take a look at 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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