I was trying to figure out a fun, engaging way to show students how the distributive property worked. So, I decided to create a play for my 8th graders to act out. The students are very engaged as they follow along with the script and, with a few, well-timed pauses and mini-teaches, the students really understood and could use the property.
First, if your students already know how to use the order of operations, I start the lesson having them simplify a few expressions that involve parentheses. Then, I tell them that today we will learn how to simplify these problems a different way. I pass out scripts to each student and have them volunteer for parts in the play. I then give them props to use (I've attached these at the end of the play). Usually, I just punch two holes in the tops of the prop papers and put a string through them to make a necklace for the actors to wear. I give Sir Distributor a meterstick for a horse, a ruler for the wand of multiplication and I cut out a black mustache out of stock paper for them to tape on. As all the students read along, and I narrate, the students act out how to solve the problem 5(4+3) using distribution. Throughout the play, I will pause everyone and review what just happened in the play. After the play, you can continuously reference the outside number being popular or how the parentheses disappear and students will recall the play and remember the distributive property. Have fun with it!