Lesson objective: Understand that many expressions can be interpreted without evaluating them.

Students bring prior knowledge of multiplicative comparison from 4.OA.A.1, 4.OA.A.2, and 5.NF.B.5. This prior knowledge is extended to expressions as students interpret expressions without evaluating them. A conceptual challenge students may encounter is being able to explain the relationships between two or more expressions without finding their values.

The concept is developed through work with area models, which help students visualize the relationships between two or more expressions.

This work helps students deepen their understanding of operations because expressions show relationships between numbers and how different operations affect the meaning of an expression.

Students engage in Mathematical Practice 7 (look for and make use of structure) as they discover a pattern in the expressions that connect them, such as finding that 3 x (5 + 3) is 3 times the value of 5 + 3.

**Key vocabulary:**

- area model
- interpret
- numerical expression

**Special materials needed:**

- colored pencils
- graph paper