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Balance Scales

Becka Knight & Sharon Hooper
4th Grade
Jefferson Academy
Jefferson City Schools

Contents

Task
Overview
In this task, students will find an unknown quantity, explore the relationship between quantities, and enhance their understanding of the equal sign as equivalence and a balance point.

Illustrative Task
Adapted from “Coming to Know Number,” Wheatley & Reynolds, Mathematics Learning, 1999.

  1. Use symbols for the unknown weights to write a number sentence that represents the balanced scale. Then, find the missing weights.
  2. a.
    b.
    c.
    d.

    Note: Objects that have the same size and shape also have the same weight

  3. Use symbols for the unknown weights to write a number sentence that represents the balanced scale. Then, describe the relationship between one cylinder and one rectangular solid.
  4. a.
    b.

GPS Addressed
M4A1. Students will represent and interpret mathematical relationships in quantitative expressions.
    b.  Represent unknowns using symbols, such as □ and Δ.
    c.  Write and evaluate mathematical expressions using symbols and different values.

Video Information
Use these questions to guide your thinking about some of the important teacher ideas in the lesson featured in the video clip.
  1. What kinds of questions does the teacher ask to promote students’ problem solving?
  2. How is the teacher gauging students’ current understandings and building from those understandings?
  3. Consider the GPS standards listed with this video.
  4. What makes this lesson different from lessons you have taught on this topic?

Classroom Materials

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