Phrases for Algebraic Operations

Subject: ESL/ELL (English Language Learning), Math

Lesson Length: 30 - 45 mins

Topic: Phrases for Algebraic Operations

Grade Level: 4, 5, 6

Objective: Critical thinking

Standards: CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.4.OA.A.3

Standards:

Match phrases to algebraic symbols from visually supported oral statements. Solve multistep word problems posed with whole numbers and having whole-number answers using the four operations.

Brief Description: Students will identify key phrases in word problems to determine which operation should be used.

Know Before You Start: This lesson teaches the signal words for addition and subtraction. You can adapt this lesson to address other algebraic operations as needed.

Phrases for Algebraic Operations - Exemplar comic, panel 1 Phrases for Algebraic Operations - Exemplar comic, panel 2 Phrases for Algebraic Operations - Exemplar comic, panel 3 Phrases for Algebraic Operations - Exemplar comic, panel 4 Phrases for Algebraic Operations - Exemplar comic, panel 5 Phrases for Algebraic Operations - Exemplar comic, panel 6

Hook: Read and discuss the first panel of the sample comic.

Activity:

  • Continue reading panels 2 and 3. As each panel is displayed, have students search for signal words that help them decide whether to add or subtract. 

  • As students answer, add these words to a signal word t-chart 

  • Complete the same exercise for panel 4, 5, and 6. 

  • Hang the chart in the room as a reference.

  • Extension:  have students use Pixton to create their own word problem using a signal word. Have partners attempt to find the signal word and solve the problem.

Closure: Remind students that it is important to look for signal words or phrases in word problems to figure out whether we need to add or subtract.

Differentiation: Enrichment- Adapt this lesson to the operation you want to target (ex: multiplication/division).

Resources: Comic to print or display: Comic 1.