Online Workshop: Teaching Expressions and Equations in Middle School Math (through Algebra 1)


Few topics in middle school math are as challenging, or as important, as Expressions and Equations. 

In this workshop, you’ll learn how Always, Sometimes, Never Proofs will help you make expressions and equations engaging and hands-on. You’ll use interactive digital tools (Google Slides) to build student engagement and generate meaningful math discussions in your online classroom.

Enrollment in this workshop includes all the print and digital resources you’ll need to teach your students Always, Sometimes, Never Proofs the very next day!

This is a three-part online workshop, conducted in real time with a live instructor.

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The Challenge of Teaching Expressions and Equations

If you teach middle school math, you understand the challenge of teaching expressions and equations. There are just so many areas for students to get stuck. Combining like terms, inverse operations, variables, negative numbers. The list of trouble spots goes on and on.

But what if there were one activity that could address all of the most common misconceptions students have? A fun and engaging way for students to develop conceptual understanding of variables, expressions, and equations?

Enter the Always, Sometimes, Never Proof.

What Is an Always, Sometimes, Never Proof?

Always, Sometimes, Never Proofs help middle school students make sense of equations and inequalities. Instead of always “solving for x” students reason about the meanings of equality, numbers, and operations.

In this workshop, you’ll learn to support your students in developing their mathematical reasoning. And you’ll learn specific activities and lessons that will enable you to use Always, Sometimes, Never math to teach a wide range of middle school content standards.

Always sometimes never math challenges students to go beyond answer getting

 To learn more about Always, Sometimes, Never math and number proofs, read this article.

Teaching Expressions and Equations: Session Overview

The workshop is divided into three parts: Do the ProofsDesign the Proofs, and Teach the Proofs

Session 1 (Do the Proofs): You’ll collaborate with fellow math educators to complete challenging Always, Sometimes, Never Proofs. By experiencing the activity as a student, you’ll better understand how to help your students when you teach the lesson. These challenging activities will also force you to stretch your mathematical thinking in new and creative ways!

Session 2 (Design the Proofs): Next, we’ll look at how to plan and create an Always, Sometimes, Never proof lesson. You’ll create ASN Proofs aligned to whatever standards you’re teaching. You’ll use our Google Slides templates to turn your proofs into an interactive digital lesson.

Session 3 (Teach the Proofs): Finally, we’ll go over best practices for teaching and assessing number proofs. We’ll look at the 3-part Math Workshop structure to generate interest, promote creative problem solving, and ignite productive math discussions. We’ll also look at how to use rubrics to assess students on their process, product, and presentation.

Workshop Takeaways

By the end of this workshop, you’ll be an expert in teaching expressions and equations to your middle school students. Always, Sometimes, Never Proofs align perfectly with most middle school focus standards (especially EE, NS, and RP domains), as well as critical Algebra standards (including SSE, REI, CED, RN, and Q domains).

What’s more, proving equations supports several math practice standards, such as MP1 (Problem Solving), MP2 (Abstract Reasoning), and MP3 (Constructing Viable Arguments).

And you won’t just be learning, you’ll be creating. You’ll leave the workshop with activities and lesson plans that you designed, and that you can use in your class the following day. You’ll also have access to our library of inquiry-based learning resources, including activity templates, lesson plans, rubrics, and more!

About the Presenter

Jeff Lisciandrello is the founder of Room to Discover and an educational consultant specializing in student-centered learning practicesJeff Lisciandrello is a curriculum designer and educational technology consultant specializing in student- centered instruction. He has over 15 years experience as a classroom teacher and instructional coach. In Jeff’s workshops, you won’t just hear about differentiation and inquiry-based learning: You’ll experience them first-hand. Find him on Twitter @EdTechJeff


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