AJ has been coming along wonderfully in math. I think that our decision to ditch a “regular” math curriculum in fifth and sixth grades, and work on the Key To Math program, was the perfect choice for us. It has given AJ a sense of confidence and has allowed her to breeze through the beginning of pre-algebra.
She has been using UnLock Math Pre-Algebra this year, and has already completed over 35% of the course. She has understood all of the concepts, and I haven’t really had to teach much math. It has been kind of nice.
Then she hit unit 6 lesson 6, which covers solving equations with variables on both sides of the equation. She watched the video, but the concept just didn’t click. She was making mistakes on every single question. She rewatched the lesson a few times, but you would have thought that I was asking her to write in French! Everything she had learned in the previous five lessons went out the window.
I quickly realized that this concept was one that was going to take her a little longer to really get. We worked through each problem on the whiteboard, and she was still making silly mistakes. I printed a few worksheets off for her from Super Teachers Worksheets and they helped a little bit. Then I decided to try a different approach.
Hands on learning for pre-algebra
I took six index cards, three pink and three yellow, and cut them in half. Then I made up a worksheet with six problems for her to solve. The first three to be done in a hands on way and the other three to be worked out on paper.
On the pink cards I put the variables in the problem, and on the yellow I put the other numbers. On the back of each card I put the opposite number. So on one side it would say 3x and on the other side it would say -3x. Then I had her work through the problems.
First she started with the original equation written out with the index cards taped to the white board.
I told her she had to get all of the variables on the same side, but in order to move a card to the other side she had to flip it over.
Once the variables were all on the same side, she finished solving the problem on the whiteboard. The concept seemed to finally click!
The next day I made a different worksheet for her with more advanced problems. I made index cards for the first three problems and had her work them out on the white board. The second sheet required a little more work, but she was able to do it easily!
She ended up redoing the math lesson and passed it with 100%. I am so thankful that we are able to slow down and take a little extra time to cover a difficult concept when she needs help!
The two Pre-Algebra worksheets with worked out answer keys are free for my subscribers. If you are a subscriber, you can use the link in your email. If you haven’t subscribed yet, enter your email address in the box below.
What hands on ideas do you use to teach pre-algebra concepts?