Solving Equations – Differentiated 

Student: Mrs. Martin when will the test be over solving equations?

Me: Why?

Student: Because I get this and I want to take the test already!!!

I have heard this from multiple students on multiple occasions in the last two weeks.

Many of us were only taught one way to solve equations. I was lucky enough to have been shown how to solve equations a few other ways a few years ago but a wonderful math consultant. 

One is what I call the cloud method because it looks like a cloud. I have had students call it the lip method because they thought it looked like lips and this year a few students have called it the butt method. (Remember I teach 7th graders) The top part of the cloud is just you re-writing the problem. The bottom part of the cloud is the inverse operation that you will be performing to solve the problem. 

The second method is what I called the ladder method because it reminds me of a ladder. You start by re-writing the problem doing down and then write the inverse operations that you will be performing going up to solve the problem.

The final method is the traditional method that we all learned which I called the step method. 

I find that most like the cloud, second is the ladder and a few will go with the traditional step method. 

We are just getting done with students having a 4 day weekend so I have made exit tickets to see what students remember for the coming week before we finally test over solving equations and inequalities. There is an exit ticket for each method so students just need to select the ticket with the method they use. 



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About martinsarah

7th grade math teacher in Iowa

2 responses to “Solving Equations – Differentiated ”

  1. Elisa says :

    I really like the cloud method. I’ve been looking for a new way to teach equations because my kiddos do not understand where to add/subtract and where to multiply/divide. Do you happen to have a foldable on it for an Interactive Notebook?

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middle school math


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