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# EDMA310/360 Mathematics unit planner {Mary-Anne Sammut}

Unit Overview

Unit title:
Exploring equality-What is the true meaning of the equals sign? And how can this help
us find unknown quantities?

Content maths area:
Algebra

Learning Focus (ideas extrapolated from AusVELS):

Level 4
Content strand- Number & Algebra
Sub strand- Patterns and Algebra
1) Use equivalent number sentences involving addition and subtraction to find unknown
quantities (ACMNA083)(VCCA, 2013).
Proficiency strands:

Understanding includes making connections between representations of numbers
Problem Solving includes formulating, modelling and recording authentic situations
involving operations.
Reasoning includes using generalizing from number properties and results of
calculations (VCCA, 2013).
Rationale:
In order for students to be able to effectively find the correct unknown quantity, they
must have a clear understanding of the equals sign, and what it actually represents
(Brown, 2008). These lessons will therefore, allow students to explore the equals sign
and deal with any misconceptions they may have, so that they can then determine
whether an equation is correct and can explore how equality can help us find the
Assumed prior knowledge of students:
Students can calculate challenging addition and subtraction equations, however some
students are struggling to understand the true meaning of the equals sign.
Grouping strategies to support learning:
Learning will be supported by grouping students in mixed ability groups. Rogers, (2002)
states that placing students in same ability groups can decrease their motivation to
learn and overall achievement levels. Therefore in placing students in mixed ability
groups, the lower achievers can learn via interactions with the higher achieves in the
classroom.
Overview of assessment:
Summative assessment will be used at the commencement of the unit to assess and
record what students know. Throughout the unit however, the majority of assessment
will be formative and ongoing. At the end of the unit, summative assessment will be
used again to assess what students have learnt, and to assess also if they have
grasped the main mathematical concepts associated with equivalence and unknown
quantities.

References:
Brown, J. (2008). Structuring Mathematical Thinking in the Primary Year. In J.
Vincent, R. Pierce, & J. Dowsey (Eds.), Connected Maths Proceedings of the 4th
Annual Conference of the Mathematical Association of Victoria. MAV: Melbourne.

Rogers, K. (2002). Grouping the gifted and talented. Roeper Review, 24(4), 103-
107

Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority. (2013). AusVELS: The

Ontario, (2007). Patterning and Algebra Learning Activities Grade 5: Online
http://eworkshop.on.ca/edu/pdf/Mod42_algebra_act_gr5.pdf

Downton, A., Sexton, M, & Brown, J. (2013). EDMA310 & EDMA360:
Mathematics Learning and Teaching 2: Book of Reading, Activities and Resources.
Australian Catholic University: Melbourne.

MATHEMATICS UNIT PLANNER
Topic: Number and Algebra Year Level: 4 Term: 4 Week: 1 Date:
Key mathematical understandings

The equals sign represents equivalence

What is represented on one side of the
equals sign must be the same on the other
side of the equals sign.

Understanding equivalence can help us find
unknown quantities.

Key AusVELS Focus / Standard (taken directly from AusVELS documents):
Content strand(s): Number and Algebra
Sub-strand(s):

Level descriptions:
1) Use equivalent number sentences involving addition and subtraction to find unknown quantities (ACMNA083)

Proficiency strand(s): Understanding, Problem Solving & Reasoning

Understanding includes making connections between representations of numbers
Problem Solving includes formulating, modelling and recording authentic situations involving operations.
Reasoning includes using generalizing from number properties and results of calculations

Possible misconceptions (list of misconceptions related to
the mathematical idea/topic that students might develop):
Misconception of the equals sign
- Students may believe that the equals sign
indicates for us to find the answer, and will
therefore struggle to find an unknown
quantity, without the understanding of
equality.
- Believe that the left hand side of an equation
is the problem, and the right hand side is
where the

Key skills to develop and practise (including strategies,
ways of working mathematically, language goals, etc.) (4-5 key skills
only):
Conjecturing
Testing
Explaining
Justifying

Key equipment / resources:

Balance and weights
True or false cards
Sea saw and weights
Interactive whiteboard
Book- Equal Shmequal by Virginia L. Kroll

Key probing questions (focus questions that will be used to
develop understanding to be used during the sequence of lessons; 3 5
probing questions):
What do you think the equals sign means?
Can you justify your reasons behind your
thinking?
Can you test whether your justifications are
correct?

Links to other contexts (if applicable, e.g., inquiry unit focus,
current events, literature, etc.):
Literacy- Using the book Equal Shmequal
Inquiry based learning- questioning, making
conjectures, testing and explaining.
Key vocabulary:
Same as
Equal
True
False
Unknown quantities
Variables
Symbols
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Analysing
Checking
Classifying
Co-operating
Considering options
Designing
Elaborating

Estimating
Explaining
Generalising
Hypothesising
Inferring
Interpreting
Justifying

Listening
Locating information
Making choices
Note taking
Observing
Ordering events
Organising

Performing
Planning
Predicting
Presenting
Providing feedback
Questioning

Recognising bias
Reflecting
Reporting
Responding
Restating
Revising

Seeing patterns
Selecting information
Self-assessing
Sharing ideas
Summarising
Synthesising

Testing
Viewing
Visually representing
Working independently
Working to a timetable

MATHEMATICAL
FOCUS

(what you want the children
to come to understand as a
result of this lesson short,
succinct statement)
TUNING IN
(WHOLE CLASS FOCUS)
(a short, sharp task relating to the focus of
the lesson; sets the scene/ context for what
students do in the independent aspect. e.g.,
It may be a problem posed, spider diagram,
an open-ended question, game, or reading a
story)
INVESTIGATIONS
SESSION
(INDEPENDENT LEARNING)
(extended opportunity for students to work
in pairs, small groups or individually. Time
for teacher to probe childrens thinking or
work with a small group for part of the
time and to also conduct roving
conferences)
REFLECTION & MAKING
CONNECTIONS
SESSION
(WHOLE CLASS FOCUS)
(focused teacher questions and
summary to draw out the mathematics
and assist children to make links. NB.
This may occur at particular points
during a lesson. Use of spotlight,
strategy, gallery walk, etc.)

- Enabling prompt
(to allow those experiencing
difficulty to engage in active
experiences related to the
- Extending prompt
(questions that extend
students thinking on the initial
ASSESSMENT
STRATEGIES

(should relate to objective. Includes
what the teacher will listen for,
observe, note or analyse; what
evidence of learning will be collected
and what criteria will be used to
analyse the evidence)

Session 1
Children will
understand the
true meaning
of the equals
sign.

Have students complete a
current knowledge of the
equals sign.
On the board ask students to
following equation:
10 +4= _+ 5
Give students a blank piece of
paper to complete their
workings, and allow them to
work at their desks.
ideas.
Teacher note- if most students
anyone has come up with a
In small groups students will
be given a balance scales
and weights of different
measures. Students will be
weights- can you and your
group use these weights to
show how the equals sign
works?
On butchers paper each
represent what they have
found, using drawings and
symbols to show this.

to see if they can use
different weight amounts on

Each group will share what
they have discovered and
explored using the balance
scales and weights.
Discuss how these drawn
representations can be
written down using
numerals and as equations.
Can we find out the answer
to the following equation
using the balance scales:

10+ 4=_+5

What is the missing
number?

Enabling prompt:

Students will be
weights for instance

5 kilos and 2kilos
equals (is the same
as) 7 kilos.
explore the different
possibilities that
make the scales
balance.

Extending Prompt-
equations for what

Summative assessment:
Initial test- will provide
information to determine
sign and any
misconceptions they may
have.

Formative assessment-
The teacher will listen to
and look out for
teachable moments
where she/he can
provide feedback.
Observation will be used-
along with sticky notes to
will be asked to explain what
they did.

Shmequal by Virginia L. Kroll
and discuss how the theme
and how the animals explored
the idea of equals. What did
they use in the story?
Ask: So what does the equals
sign truly represent and tell us?
Discuss same as and
equivalence.
Introduce scales and weights.
each side.
For instance- If you had 3
kilos and 2 kilos on one side
of the balance (using
different weights amounts)
what would you need to put
on the other side of the
scales to make the scales
balance?

10 kilos + 4 kilos = 5 kilos
and how many more?

they are exploring. jot down the
understanding of specific
students.

Session 2

Students will
be able to
determine
whether
equations are
correctly or
incorrectly
written as
equivalent
(making
justifications to
support their

Students will be introduced to
the true or false game- (see
appendix 1)

To make sure that students
have a proper understanding of
this game, an equation will be
written on the board for the
class and teacher to do
together(together they will
discuss whether the equation
is true or false and why this is
so-how is this justified)
(Downton, Sexton & Brown,
2012).

Equation:

20+45= 90- 35

20+45=65 90-35 =55

Can we change one number in
the equation to make this
equation true?

Discuss this as a class

Students will work in pairs to
determine if the equation
cards they are given are true
or false.
Students will take turns to
choose an equation and
determine if it is true or false,
by arguing and justifying their

A few students will be
argument for or against the
correctness of one of their
chosen equations.

The rest of the class will be
encouraged to debate
whether or not they agree
and discuss whether they
think that their justification
is convincing and logical.

As a whole class- discuss
number sentences.

Enabling Prompt

Students who are
struggling will work in
a teacher pull out
group to together
determine whether
the cards are true or
false.

Extending prompt

Once students come
across a false
equation they will
write down the
equation again,
however substituting
one number for a
number which will
make the equation
correct.

Formative Assessment

Students will be
assessed through
observation.
The Teacher will listen
out for student
justifications, to
determine what they
understand and access
whether they are
understanding the
concept of equivalence. If
justifications are unclear,
themselves what are
these children struggling
to understand- and what
can be done to help
these students.

Session 3

Students will
further establish
their understanding
of equivalence.
Students will
recognise how we
can use variables
to express
equations.

Students will revisit the book
Equal Shmequal
As a class the teacher and
students will discuss how they
can write an equation using the
characters in the story who are
playing tug or war.
In order for the characters to
play, they had to have the
same amount of weight on
either side.
Using a scale to measure
themselves, the characters in
the story realised that the
weight of a fox was the same
as the weight of 4 turtles, and
the weight of 2 squirrels was
the same as the weight of 2
turtles.
Draw a diagram as a class
to show how the animals in the
story are balanced. What could
their weights be?

Which animal do you think
weighs the most?

brainstorm ways they could
represent each animal
without having to draw each
animal (Ontario, 2007, p. 21).

Pose the question:
How many different ways can
the animals combine on
either side of the teeter
totter to make the teeter
totter balance if you have a
fox, 4 turtles, and 6
Squirrels? (Ontario, 2007,
p.22).

F for fox, T for turtle, and S
for squirrel

F = T + T + T + T
T + T = S + S + S

Helping questions
If a fox (unrealistically)
weighs 12 kilos, how much
would a turtle weigh?

How much would 2 turtles
weigh?

problem?

In mixed ability groups of 4-4
students will be given the
opportunity to use the
balance scales and weights
to help them determine all
possibilities, and justify their

A spokesman from every
share what they have
discovered, and share the
reasons why they believe
found are correct.

Enabling prompt:

Use specific weights,

Extending prompt:

helping questions.

Formative Assessment

Roving conference with
groups and individual
students- Students will be
assessed throughout the
lesson through the
them working through the
problem. Student
justifications will be taken
into consideration to
access their overall
understanding.

Introduce students to key
terminology- what is a
variable?

Session 4

Students will be
able to write their
own worded
problems with an
unknown quantity,
as well as
determine the
justifications to
demonstrate why
correct.

question outlined in the
AusVels curriculum

When a number is added to
23 the answer is the same as
57 minus 19. What is the
number? (VCCA, 2013).

Students will take part in a
think-pair-share in relation to
this question.

A few students will be asked to
share their ideas and outline
the strategies which they used
Students will be introduced to
the next activity- of creating
their own worded stories of
equality for find an unknown
quantity.
Discuss this- and complete an
example with students.

Individually students will be
asked to write an equation of
equality with an unknown.

On a separate paper
words, pictures and
diagrams.

Some students will be
problems with the rest of
the class.

The rest of the class will
problem, and find the
unknown variable or
amount.

The student sharing will
then determine whether this
examples to justify this.

Enabling prompt:

Struggling students
will work in a pull out
group to gather ideas
on questions they
could pose.

Extending prompt:

Students will be
variables within their
problem.

Summative
Assessment

Students work will be
collected and assessed
in regards to the
complexity of the
question, and fore mostly
in regards to the
justifications the students