Sunday, May 14, 2017

Balanced Equations & Missing Addends-New product

One of my favorite parts of the year in first grade is teaching missing addends and balancing equations. Now if you would have asked me 6 years ago I might have thought you were out of your mind! Why? Well because it does not always come easy for those little mathematicians. It can be abstract, but that is why it is up to us to model, model, model, and hands on practice until it clicks! My kids got excited being detectives for those missing numbers in an equation and LOVED using the balances to solve balance equations. Once they discover exactly how the = sign works they were amazed at how the numbers worked together on both sides! My main goal really from this was just to get them to understand that the equal sign is a symbol to show that the left is the same as the right. They get so used to seeing it one way that when it changes at all it throws them off track and they freeze. When in all actuality they can do it. I broke out the balances and you would have thought I was a super hero . I also found one online that was interactive so we were able to use the smartboard and the small balance they could touch.
Here is the interactive online one:

I also felt the need to have them be able to record their thoughts and findings throughout the lessons so I created a packet that incorporates missing addend, balancing equations, and word problems.  I went very slow and gave them a lot of time to talk and explore and discuss reasoning's. Seriously, my mind was blown listening to them think through and use math talk. Everyday after these lessons I felt like I had run a marathon, not in an Oh My Goodness I am going to pass out, what was I thinking kind of way, but like an Oh My Goodness that was exhilarating, I feel accomplished, it can be done kind of way. Especially when they were so interested and pumped as well. 


We not only worked through seeing the equal signs meaning but we also challenged ourselves to make a false, unequal, unbalanced equation, actually balanced. 
They started seeing how they could create certain equations different ways and that there was not just one way to make or see it. 
I thought they were going to explode when we got to one problem that went past 10 and since the balance only goes up to ten they had to either put more than two weights on or stack the weights to get to their answer. 
There was so much good stuff that we did that week I can't even list it all! 


We also used the bucket balances (not pictured)  as well as the number balance to work through problems. 

If you are looking for these types of activities to work with your students you can check out the packet HERE!! 
Not all is shown in this preview. 

Have a BLESSED week!! 


  1. Wow! I especially love your comment about how exhilarating it is when you realized "Oh my goodness"..they get it! It's those moments of "a-ha" that keep me motivated to create more engaging activities. Teaching is a mission; an art. It looks like you got this lesson down pat! Your Mystery Missing AddENDS resource looks awesome! Yay, YOU!

  2. I love seeing the photos of your students working as you think aloud about what they are doing. So real and authentic. Looks like you had a teachable moment! That's the best! A win-win for you and your students!

  3. I love using Number Balances. I have attached a laminated equal symbol in the middle of the balance so that they can 'read' across the balance.