# Writing Equations Using a Variable or a Letter for the Unknown Quantity

Monday, February 6, 2017
Well, we are just truckin' along learning new topics! This weeks focus has been on writing simple equations using a variable or letter for the unknown quantity.  In 5th grade we will only see a variable or letter in the solution part of the equation.  To get started with this topic, we first talked about equation vocabulary.  I don't like to teach "key words" but there are words that lend themselves more clearly to one operation.  For example "sum" usually means to add.  We journaled common words and phrases seen in word problems and discussed their meaning.
Next we used a book called "One is a Snail, Ten is a Crab" by April and Jeff Sayre.  This is a very simple book in nature, but students can learn a more complex math operation using this simple book to guide the instruction.  First I read the book and the students followed along using the guided instruction part.  I read and we did the guided instruction together.

Afterwards the packet instructs students to come up with their own equations using the book as a reference.  The students were given a number and they had to develop their own equation to represent that number.  Students then came to the board to present their findings.  We went over their equations and checked for accuracy.  They did really well with this!

Finally I gave them a copy of equation dominos that are about the book we just read.  They had to use the equations and solve them and match them up with the solution.  When done, this created one long strip of dominoes.

This activity went really well and gave them a wonderful introduction to using variables or letters for the unknown.  If you would like to do this in your own class HERE is the link to my TpT store!

The following day we did What's Inside? Mystery Beads! I have actually blogged about this activity before.  You can check it out HERE!  This year I went digital with my canisters.  In previous years, I have used actual canisters and beads to have students solve equations to reveal what is inside the canister.  Side note- Students today have no idea what a film canister is! This is the digital age and I had a full 7 minute conversation on the "old days" and taking film to get developed!

Lastly the students worked on a Google Slides Project all about writing equations.  Google Projects are my newest favorite addition to class! I am loving these projects! I love them because they are engaged in their learning and it is rigorous problem solving! Not only with math but problem solving with technology too.

You can do these Google Projects in your own classroom by getting the link off my TpT store, HERE!

Next stop SHAPES!!! Stay Tuned!

Peace, Love & Math
Jennifer