I have found that students struggle with writing equations from story problems. To help scaffold this skill, I first have them reverse it by writing story problems to correspond with variables and equations that I give them.
Included in the zip file is a 5-slide powerpoint that I use to introduce and practice the topic. It starts with a systems of equations story problem, and we work together as a class to write the corresponding equations. I use this slide to introduce the concept of defining a variable, and I emphasize that this slide is the eventual goal and not something that everyone will be able to do easily on their own yet. The last three slides are sets of defined variables and equations for students to practice with partners and discuss as a class.
Also included in the zip file is a three question homework assignment for students to get individual practice writing their own story problems.
Common mistakes to address: Students wanting to include the variable in their story rather than describing what the variable means; forgetting to include a question to go with the story; grammar; using mathematical symbols rather than words that would convey the same meaning
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