Sneetches Are Sneetches and Numbers

Posted: November 9, 2014 in Uncategorized

Recently my Pre-Algebra students have been working on solving equations. They have been doing a great job with one-step and two-step equations. They can explain how they get their answers and were doing great!

Then we got to variables on both sides. Students were struggling. We went over ways to solve, we discussed what to do, but many were still struggling. Then one day at after school tutoring I talked with a student about Dr. Seuss’s The Sneetches.

Then I had a thought. . . .

The next day in class I read the book to the class. Then had an equation on the board. Let’s take for example the following equation:

Screen Shot 2014-11-09 at 3.01.47 PMWe circled the variables and we called them the star-bellied sneetches because they have a variable, making them different than the other numbers (constants) who have “none upon thars”.

Screen Shot 2014-11-09 at 3.05.11 PM

After identifying the star-bellied sneetches (terms with the variable), we remembered that in the story that they enjoy gathering together for frankfurter parties (we also had to discuss what a frankfurter is) and decided that they needed to be on one side. Remembering how to move from one side of the equation to the other, we decided to subtract “x” from each side.

Screen Shot 2014-11-09 at 3.21.49 PMAfter moving sneetches_on_beachesthe star-bellied sneetches together, we realized that they don’t like the non-star-bellied sneetches and they want them away from the party. So we need to move the -8 by adding 8 to each side of the equation.

After we have all the star-bellied sneetches on one side of the equation and the non-star-bellied sneetches on the other side, we then step into the machine to remove the star (variable) by dividing by how many star-bellied sneetchsneetches (5) we to find out that we have no one with a star and everyone is happy.

After using Dr. Seuss’s The Sneetches, students were able to solve these with much ease. They started to understand a little more about combining the like terms even though they were on different sides of the equation.

I know it may not be the best way to relate math and help them to understand the concept, but it is just another way that I learned has helped my students.

I think the best part was students asked if they could have a star on their bellies. I told them after solving a few problems correctly, they could have one. They worked hard to complete the problems, then climbed into the machine (crawled under a desk) so that they could display their star proudly!


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