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SAVY 2019: Session 5, Day 3 – Solving for the Unknown (Rising 3rd/4th)

Posted by on Wednesday, July 17, 2019 in Grade 3, Grade 4, SAVY.

Hello SAVY parents!  I can’t believe we are almost halfway through our session here at summer SAVY.  I was excited to hear all the students tell me how they were able to work their “magic” at home last night with the card trick. Thank you so much for allowing them to show what they’ve learned so far while here at SAVY!

Today, the students were introduced to another strategy for solving equations for specific unknowns. It is called the cover-up method and connects the work that students did in the previous three lessons.  The first part of the lesson focused on teaching students the cover-up method; during the second part of the lesson, students practice solving equations.  Students learned to solve one- and two- step equations.  Teaching the cover-up method is important because it develops excellent number sense and focuses on the correct order of operations, which will be critical in their further study of algebra.  Eventually, they will have a number of strategies in their memory bank that will allow them to choose which method suits them best. Equation solving is an important skill in algebra.

In the afternoon session we moved into chapter 2.  In this chapter, students explored how to solve two equations with two different unknowns or variables.  This a complicated process that requires multiple steps.  You probably encountered these types of equations in high school algebra and were taught rules to solve them.  When we approach these sets of equations as mathematical problems and use logical reasoning to find what values for the variables will work in both equations, the process and the solutions will make sense. The fun and challenge lie in using analytical thinking skills to solve the systems in an efficient way.

We set the stage for this chapter by engaging students in problem solving.  Students were given puzzles that they can write as sets of equations with two equations and two variables, each representing a specific unknown. This is a difficult concept so students were taught to use problem-solving strategies and logical reasoning to solve the puzzles.  As one strategy, students use the guess-and-test method combined with making an organized list.  They also learned how to make a diagram to solve the same puzzle.  Working with these problems gave students an opportunity to work with two unknowns at the same time.  Making an organized list is a strategy students will use in the next lesson when they encounter problems written using two equations with two variables.

If you have items (not more than 5) that we can use for our culminating activity please begin to send them tomorrow. Thank you so much for all of your help!

–D. Polk