Algebra-Fun with Calendars

This is lesson plan that uses a calendar to teach an algebra concept of variables, as well as multiple step equations. This is a fun engaging activity to teach the concept of using several unknown variables in a multi-step problem. This lesson should be completed after students are comfortable with using variables, and is suggested to be used in groups or pairs.

Standards & Objectives

Academic standards
CCSS.Math.Content.4.NBT.A.1
Recognize that in a multi-digit whole number, a digit in one place represents ten times what it represents in the place to its right. For example,...
CCSS.Math.Content.4.NBT.A.2
Read and write multi-digit whole numbers using base-ten numerals, number names, and expanded form. Compare two multi-digit numbers based on...
CCSS.Math.Content.4.NBT.A.3
Use place value understanding to round multi-digit whole numbers to any place.
CCSS.Math.Content.4.NF.B.3
Understand a fraction a/b with a > 1 as a sum of fractions 1/b.
CCSS.Math.Content.4.OA.A.1
Interpret a multiplication equation as a comparison, e.g., interpret 35 = 5 x 7 as a statement that 35 is 5 times as many as 7 and 7 times as many...
CCSS.Math.Content.4.OA.A.2
Multiply or divide to solve word problems involving multiplicative comparison, e.g., by using drawings and equations with a symbol for the unknown...
CCSS.Math.Content.5.NBT.A.1
Recognize that in a multi-digit number, a digit in one place represents 10 times as much as it represents in the place to its right and 1/10 of...
CCSS.Math.Content.5.NBT.A.2
Explain patterns in the number of zeros of the product when multiplying a number by powers of 10, and explain patterns in the placement of the...
CCSS.Math.Content.5.NBT.A.3
Read, write, and compare decimals to thousandths.
CCSS.Math.Content.5.OA.A.1
Use parentheses, brackets, or braces in numerical expressions, and evaluate expressions with these symbols.
CCSS.Math.Content.6.EE.A.2
Write, read, and evaluate expressions in which letters stand for numbers.
CCSS.Math.Content.6.EE.B.5
Understand solving an equation or inequality as a process of answering a question: which values from a specified set, if any, make the equation or...
CCSS.Math.Content.6.EE.B.6
Use variables to represent numbers and write expressions when solving a real-world or mathematical problem; understand that a variable can...
CCSS.Math.Content.6.EE.B.7
Solve real-world and mathematical problems by writing and solving equations of the form x + p = q and px = q for cases in which p, q and x are all...
CCSS.Math.Content.6.EE.B.8
Write an inequality of the form x > c or x < c to represent a constraint or condition in a real-world or mathematical problem. Recognize that...
CCSS.Math.Content.6.EE.C.9
Use variables to represent two quantities in a real-world problem that change in relationship to one another; write an equation to express one...
GLE 0406.2.1
Understand place value of numbers from hundredths to the hundred-thousands place.
GLE 0406.2.5
Add and subtract fractions with like and unlike denominators.
GLE 0406.2.6
Solve problems involving whole numbers, fractions, and/or decimals using all four arithmetic operations.
GLE 0406.3.1
Extend understanding of a variable to equations involving whole numbers, fractions, decimals, and/or mixed numbers.
GLE 0406.3.2
Use mathematical language and modeling to develop descriptions, rules and extensions of patterns.
GLE 0406.3.3
Translate between different forms of representations of whole number relationships.
GLE 0506.2.1
Extend the understanding of place value through millions and millionths in various contexts and representations.
GLE 0506.2.4
Develop fluency with addition and subtraction of proper and improper fractions and mixed numbers; explain and model the algorithm.
GLE 0506.3.1
Understand and use order of operations.
GLE 0506.3.2
Develop and apply the concept of variable.
GLE 0506.3.3
Understand and apply the substitution property.
GLE 0601.4.1
Define and narrow a problem or research topic.
GLE 0606.1.1
Use mathematical language, symbols, and definitions while developing mathematical reasoning.
GLE 0606.3.1
Write and solve two-step equations and inequalities.
GLE 0606.3.2
Interpret and represent algebraic relationships with variables in expressions, simple equations and inequalities.
GLE 0606.3.3
Extend order of operations to include grouping symbols and exponents.
GLE 0606.3.4
Use expressions, equations and formulas to solve problems.
GLE 0606.3.5
Use multiple representations including symbolic algebra to model and/or solve contextual problems that involve linear relationships.
SPI 0406.2.1
Read and write numbers from hundredths to hundred-thousands in numerals and in words.
SPI 0406.2.3
Identify the place value of a specified digit in a number and the quantity it represents.
SPI 0406.2.8
Add and subtract proper fractions with like and unlike denominators and simplify the answer.
SPI 0406.3.1
Use letters and symbols to represent an unknown quantity and write a simple mathematical expression
SPI 0506.2.1
Read and write numbers from millions to millionths in various contexts.
SPI 0506.2.9
Compare whole numbers, decimals and fractions using the symbols , and =.
SPI 0506.3.1
Evaluate algebraic expressions involving decimals and fractions using order of operations.
SPI 0506.3.2
Use variables appropriately to represent numbers whose values are not yet known.
SPI 0506.3.3
Find the unknown in single-step equations involving fractions and mixed numbers.
SPI 0606.3.1
Represent on a number line the solution of a linear inequality.
SPI 0606.3.2
Use order of operations and parentheses to simplify expressions and solve problems.
SPI 0606.3.3
Write equations that correspond to given situations or represent a given mathematical relationship.
SPI 0606.3.5
Translate between verbal expressions/sentences and algebraic expressions/equations.
TSS.Math.4.NBT.A.1
Recognize that in a multi-digit whole number (less than or equal to 1,000,000), a digit in one place represents 10 times as much as it represents in the...
TSS.Math.4.NBT.A.2
Read and write multi-digit whole numbers (less than or equal to 1,000,000) using standard form, word form, and expanded form (e.g. the expanded form of...
TSS.Math.4.NBT.A.3
Round multi-digit whole numbers to any place (up to and including the hundred-thousand place) using understanding of place value.
TSS.Math.4.NF.B.3
Understand a fraction a/b with a > 1 as a sum of fractions 1/b. For example, 4/5 = 1/5 + 1/5 + 1/5 + 1/5.
TSS.Math.4.OA.A.1
Interpret a multiplication equation as a comparison (e.g., interpret 35 = 5 x 7 as a statement that 35 is 5 times as many as 7 and 7 times as many as 5)....
TSS.Math.4.OA.A.2
Multiply or divide to solve contextual problems involving multiplicative comparison, and distinguish multiplicative comparison from additive comparison.
TSS.Math.5.NBT.A.1
Recognize that in a multi-digit number, a digit in one place represents 10 times as much as it represents in the place to its right and 1/10 of what it...
TSS.Math.5.NBT.A.2
Explain patterns in the number of zeros of the product when multiplying a number by powers of 10, and explain patterns in the placement of the decimal...
TSS.Math.5.NBT.A.3
Read and write decimals to thousandths using standard form, word form, and expanded form (e.g., the expanded form of 347.392 is written as 3 x 100 + 4 x 10...
TSS.Math.5.OA.A.1
Use parentheses and/or brackets in numerical expressions and evaluate expressions having these symbols using the conventional order (Order of Operations).
TSS.Math.6.EE.A.2
Write, read, and evaluate expressions in which variables stand for numbers.
TSS.Math.6.EE.B.5
Understand solving an equation or inequality is carried out by determining if any of the values from a given set make the equation or inequality true. Use...
TSS.Math.6.EE.B.6
Use variables to represent numbers and write expressions when solving a real-world or mathematical problem; understand that a variable can represent an...
TSS.Math.6.EE.B.7
Solve real-world and mathematical problems by writing and solving onestep equations of the form x + p = q and px = q for cases in which p, q, and x are all...
TSS.Math.6.EE.B.8
Interpret and write an inequality of the form x > c or x
TSS.Math.6.EE.C.9
Use variables to represent two quantities in a real-world problem that change in relationship to one another.
 
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Lesson Variations

Blooms taxonomy level: 
Applying
Differentiation suggestions: 

Alternate and easier method:

Subtracting 16 mentally isn't so easy.

Go back to that equation: I think I see a better way.

Factor 4 from the left side of the equation: 4(n + 4) = 88

Now, I could divide both sides by 4: (n + 4) = 22

Subtract 4 from both sides. n = 18

References

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