In Year 6, we have started to explore how to balance equations in our algebra learning. We started by understanding that letters can be used to represent a number where the value us unknown. To show this practically, we worked in pairs and one person hid the value of the letter under a cup. We then used the process of subtraction to simplify the equation down to its simplest form.
First, our partner created the calculation practically, making sure that both parts were equivalent. Then they wrote out the calculation, making sure that the unknown value was represented by a letter (we discussed how the same value must be represented by the same letter). Then the person solving the calculation would subtract both sides of the calculation to figure out what the letter represented.
We also made observations about how if we have a known number on one side of the calculation and 2 lots of the unknown number on the other (e.g. 8=2f), we could half the 8 which would give us one lot of the unknown number.
Finally, when some of us reduced our calculation to its simplest form where we had still not found the value of our letter, we discussed how the value could be anything. E.g. where 1f=1f.
This has given us a great starting point at looking at algebra and really understanding inverse and equivalence. We’re excited to begin our next step in our algebra learning!