## How to teach the properties of equality through problem solving

July 28, 2010 6 Comments

I like to teach mathematical concepts via problem solving. It right away engages students mind. It creates a need for learning a more systematic way of doing things and hence a reason for learning the concept. It provides a context for making connections. Most important of all, **it gives students opportunity to learn before they are taught**.

One of the ways of creating a problem solving task for this kind of lesson is to start by giving the solution. For example, a standard textbook task is to solve for *x* in an equation. Why not do it the other way and ask students to find the equation given the solution? I found this kind of task a very powerful context for introducing a concept.

Here is my favorite problem for introducing the properties of equality:

**Write three equations in x with solution x = 5.**

Students will generate equations by trial and adjust. That is, they think of an equation then check if it gives x = 5 by substituting the value of *x* to the equation. This is something very tedious. Read more of this post