Math-magic for Solving Multi-Step Equations

I don’t know why it took me so long to get on this band wagon.  DON’T be stupid like me and say, “I’ll get to it.”  Read all about it and decide now to do this with your students next year!

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Magic Tricks for solving equations is brilliant.  Not only is it very fun for the students, it makes learning how to solve multi-step equations very easy for them to understand.  It’s brilliant.  I read all about it on Dan (week 3) and Sadie’s blogs.  Go and read them to get the entire picture, especially since I harassed Sadie to blog about it forever!  Thanks Sadie!

I teach my students one-step equation solving with my silly “monster math” first.  Then, we start the magic tricks.  After just one lesson they are hooked.  My homework the first night is to make up your own magic trick and try it on someone at home, preferable a younger sibling!  This year, a student even videoed this and sent it to me.  See how fun this is?

After the first day, I teach them how to do more complicated equations that should fool even their older siblings and parents.  It is all about simplifying algebraic expressions. This is also a great application of the distributive property.  They can actually see when and why it makes sense to use parenthesis in an algebraic expression.  I love fun lessons that have it all!

14 thoughts on “Math-magic for Solving Multi-Step Equations

  1. Totally glad you are using this!! It helps them make so much sense of solving multi step equations. Thank you for sharing again!

    • You rock girl! This was not only insanely helpful for my students, but the kids LOVED it. Weeks later they were still coming up with number tricks to stump me with. You are amazing! Thanks for all of your help. 🙂

  2. There is another thing about equations, which is “going back into words”.
    That is, given the equation, say x + 5 = 12, can they “read” it? Can they come up with
    “12 is 5 more than the mystery number” ?
    With two mystery numbers, what does x + 2y = 13 say?
    And so on …
    I used to tell my students, some of whom had no clue about algebra, that before the 14th century all of quantitative math was done with words, and in the end, symbols really do make things simpler.

  3. I love this! Thanks for blogging about this Julie and linking both Dan’s and Sadie’s as well. I’m back with Algebra kiddos this summer and will be using Number Tricks.

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  11. This is a great idea! My pre-algebra class will soon be entering the lessons involving multi-step equations and from past years I have a feeling they are going to struggle with it. Hopefully this activity will help them.

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