Common core State Standards

  • Math:  Math
  • 7:  Grade 7
  • EE:  Expressions & Equations
  • A:  Use properties of operations to generate equivalent expressions
  • 1: 
    Apply properties of operations as strategies to add, subtract, factor, and expand linear expressions with rational coefficients.

Download Common Core State Standards (PDF 1.2 MB)

Think-Pair-Share to Practice Simplifying Expressions
Lesson Objective: Practice simplifying expressions using a think-pair-share strategy
Grade 7 / Math / Distribution

Thought starters

  1. Why is it important to allow time for students to attempt the problem independently (think)?
  2. How does the discussion between student pairs allow students to revise their thinking?
  3. Notice how the white boards allow for a quick assessment across the entire class (share).?
I love this strategy, it really develops critical thinking among the learners
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It looks like you're using a built in countdown timer on your Smart Board. I've just recently started using a Smart Board and would love to include a timer on it. I've looked through the features and on-line help but can't find any information on one. Can you point me in the right direction? Thanks for sharing a great lesson.
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I use Think Pair Share in literacy for short nonfiction reading. We share our thoughts on post-it notes so they have to use precise language. When we share, we put samples on the doc camera and then place them on Blooms Taxonomy chart to identify our level of thinking.
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Great idea to get students interacting and learning from each other. I tried it in my classroom....we're calling it "On Your Own-In a Group-Share" :)
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Tina: thank you for alerting us to this and for making this important connection back to the CCSS.
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    Charlie, sit in that group. All right. Today we're going to do a


    Charlie, sit in that group. All right. Today we're going to do a think/care/share activity. Does anybody know what a think/care/share activity is?
    The objective was to practice the distributive property. We introduced it yesterday as, just to know it, and what it is, and why it's important. Today was practicing and getting them comfortable to be able to distribute a negative through a set of parentheses, which is going to bring us into the ability to solve equations and simplify harder and more difficult expressions.
    What we're doing is, we're practicing the distributive property, and the thinking part is going to come from you, where you're going to take 30 to 60 seconds -- I'll give you the time -- to think about the problem I'm giving you. Work it on your piece of loose-leaf paper. Then, when I tell you, you'll have one to two minutes to talk about it in your group, come to a collective answer, one that you all agree on, and write your final answer on that white board that I’ve given you. Ready? Here’s your first question...thirty more second to work on this on your own. OK, talk it out. You have a minute and a half. Discuss your answer.
    Within the group, they had to talk about what the answer that they came to was. And they discussed with themselves why it was what it was, and then within the group they were able to deduce whether the answer that they either all came to was correct, or whose answer they were going to go with or why.
    STUDENT 1:
    It’s gotta be 24.
    STUDENT 2:
    24 is the last number.
    STUDENT 3:
    I got -68x + 40.
    I typically group the students by ability as well as personality. I like to have a higher learner with some of my lower learners. Some of my students are very helpful, and some of them like to keep to themselves, so I like to mix it up so that the weaker students have the ability to hear from a different perspective from mine of how students are arriving at their answer.
    STUDENT 4:
    But if you change it, you don't want minus a negative. That makes it plus a positive.
    STUDENT 5:
    No, no, because three, seven is negative two, so that's a positive.
    I was pleasantly surprised by some of the conversations that I heard. It was nice to hear some of their reasoning of why things would either cancel out, or why things would distribute the way they did.
    All right, time's up. Hold up your boards. Look around. You all have the same answer. Do you think that's coincidence. No. That's 'cause you're all right.
    The white board was for them to put their final answer on. The white board allows me to visually check in with the students without having to constantly be monitoring. Because even though I can walk around, then holding it up gives me an idea of, OK, you're getting it right, you're not getting it right. And plus, they like to use them. They think they're fun to draw on, and it's different than just writing on a piece of paper.
    All right, talk it out. You have two minutes.
    STUDENT 6:
    I got -10x + 26.
    STUDENT 7:
    I got -2x - 28.
    STUDENT 8:
    I got -12x.
    STUDENT 9:
    I typically call on students who get their questions wrong. That way, they can talk to me about why they might be wrong, or where their mistake was.
    Guys, what could you have done wrong back there?
    STUDENT 6:
    I used the six to multiply the parentheses, and Ben used the negative eight.
    What’s being distributed here? Was it the six or was it the negative eight?
    I don't like to just sit there and say, OK, well the right answer is X, Y and Z because this and this and this. OK, but why is that, and how is that, and what makes it that and --
    Why did you have a subtraction sign here but a negative sign here?
    STUDENT 10:
    Because it's a negative seven that you're distributing, not a seven.
    I like to have them lead the discussion. That way they're not always just listening, but they're more engaged because they're telling each other what it is.
    STUDENT 11:
    I’m kind of confused how to do umm...
    OK, well talk to your group.
    STUDENT 12:
    Hello, group.
    I think in a group setting, students are more comfortable telling each other how they got, arrived at their answer, point each other's mistakes out, as opposed to just doing it on their own.
    STUDENT 13:
    What’s your second line?
    STUDENT 14:
    My second line is, negative -- well, I did the first part first.

    * * *END OF AUDIO* * *
    * * *END OF TRANSCRIPT* * *

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Coleytown Middle School
255 North Avenue
Westport CT 06880
Population: 528

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Tanya Kaplan


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