In this unit, students will apply and extend previous understandings of arithmetic expressions to algebraic expressions. Students will understand that an expression can represent either a process or a product, that properties such as the associative, distributive, or commutative property can be used to generate equivalent algebraic expressions, and that equivalent algebraic expressions have the same value for all possible values of the variable. This will lay the foundation for more formal work writing and solving equations in later grades.
Key Concepts:
 Algebraic expressions can represent both a “recipe” and a quantity (that we may or may not be able to name with a number).
 Properties of operations apply to algebraic expressions just as they did to numerical expressions (commutative and associative property).
 Properties of operations apply to algebraic expressions just as they did to numerical expressions (distributive property).
 Equivalent expressions have the same value.
Prior Knowledge Needed:
 Use the four operations with whole numbers to solve and represent problems. Represent these problems using equations with a letter standing for the unknown quantity; (Grade 4, Unit 14; 4.OA.A.3)
 Apply properties of operations (associative, commutative, distributive) in a numerical context; (Grade 5, Unit 13; 5.OA.A.1, 5.OA.A.2)
Units on the Horizon:
 Understanding, writing, and solving equations and inequalities (Grade 6, Unit 9)
 Write and solve multistep equations (Grade 7, Unit 6)
 Solve reallife and mathematical problems using numerical and algebraic expressions and equations (Grade 7, Unit 6)
Lessons

Lesson objective: Understand that algebraic expressions can represent both a “recipe” and a quantity (that we may or may not be able to name with a number). Students bring prior knowledge of properties of operations on numerical expressions from 5.OA. T...

Lesson objective: Fluently write algebraic expressions and identify their parts using mathematical terminology. This lesson helps to build fluency with writing, evaluating, and naming the parts of algebraic expressions. Highlighting words emphasizes the...

Lesson objective: Fluently evaluate expressions containing wholenumber exponents by applying Order of Operations. This lesson helps to build fluency with evaluating and simplifying expressions containing exponents. This work develops students' understa...

Lesson objective: Solve problems by writing and evaluating an algebraic expression. This lesson provides an opportunity for students to apply their knowledge and understanding of algebraic expressions to a reallife situation. Students are asked to writ...

Lesson objective: Understand that the commutative and associative properties apply to algebraic expressions just as they do to numeric expressions. Students bring prior knowledge of the associative and commutative properties from 3.OA.D.8. This prior kn...

Lesson objective: Fluently apply the associative and commutative properties to algebraic expressions. This lesson helps to build fluency with using the associative and commutative properties to simplify algebraic expressions. Variables are represented a...

Lesson objective: Solve problems using the commutative and associative properties with algebraic expressions. This lesson provides an opportunity for students to apply their knowledge and understanding of the commutative and associative properties to a ...

Lesson objective: Understand that the distributive property applies to algebraic expressions. Students bring prior knowledge of using the distributive property with numeric expressions from 3.OA.B.5. This prior knowledge is extended to variable expressi...

Lesson objective: Fluently rewrite algebraic expressions using the distributive property. This lesson helps to build fluency with using the distributive property in rewriting algebraic expressions which are in factored form so that they are in expanded ...

Lesson objective: Solve realworld problems using the distributive property with algebraic expressions. This lesson provides an opportunity for students to apply their knowledge and understanding of the distributive property to a reallife situation. St...

Lesson objective: Extend understanding of equivalence to include algebraic expressions. Students bring prior knowledge of algebraic expression from 6.EE.B.6. This prior knowledge is extended to the concept of equivalence as students evaluate the express...

Lesson objective: Use area models to determine the equivalency of expressions. This lesson helps to build procedural skill with equivalency of expressions. Area models are used here because it supports a visual/tactile understanding of an abstract topic...

Lesson objective: Identify equivalent expressions by substituting values in place of the variable. This lesson helps to build procedural skill with evaluating expressions for a given value. Substitution is used here because it highlights that different ...

Lesson objective: Solve mathematical problems that connect algebraic representations to a geometric pattern. This lesson provides an opportunity for students to apply their knowledge and understanding of equivalent expressions to a mathematical situatio...

Lesson objective: Apply the properties of operations to identify equivalent expressions. This lesson helps to build procedural skill with rewriting expressions into equivalent expressions. The properties of operations are used here because it supports t...