Combining Like Terms

I was inspired by Math with Meaning, who was inspired by Middle School Macchiatos, for this amazing lesson! I started with the video below.

Once students watch the video, we discussed what we noticed. A student was quick to point out how he could have made the order easier by combining things that were the same, such as the fries.

So, I gave the students the script & challenged them to make the order easier! I got the script from Math With Meaning’s Blog Post. Once they analyzed the script, we had another discussion and I have included a photo of a sample.

This lead us into a combining like terms lesson. I started with some notes and a color by number to work in partners. Here was my favorite part! My students last year would always want to combine every term with the same variable. For example, if x was squared, they would combine it with any term that had an x. So today, we discussed how junior fries and fries were both fries, but different sizes so they couldn’t be put together. LIGHT BULBS went off! We color coded our work because that strategy has really helped in the past when it came to included signs with the terms.

Here is a link to the color activity we did. It is a perfect intro activity. Here are notes and quick checks for combining like terms as well that I use in my own classroom.

I hope if you teach combining like terms, you try this activity!

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