The Language of Math: Subtraction Expressions


In this module students develop their skills at translating version expressions into mathematical ones. This is a crucial skill that often doesn't get enough attention. A student's ability to successfully translate words into mathematical expressions and equations puts that student on a path to successfully solving more complicated problems.

In this module students focus on subtraction expressions. This includes numerical and algebraic expressions. Students progress through these form:

  • a - b, for integers a and b
  • x - a, for integer a
  • ax - b, for integers a and b

As an extension of their work with translating words into mathematical expressions, students explore how the Inca used Quipus to identify numbers. This becomes an opportunity to translate the visual symbols from the Quipu into numbers in the proper place value. They also translate visual symbols into verbal mathematical expressions.

Math Concepts

  • Expressions
  • Number Concepts
  • Problem Solving

Learning Objectives

  • Translate verbal expressions into algebraic expressions
  • Solve problems using algebraic expressions

Prerequisite Skills

  • Familiarity with integers
  • Familiarity with algebraic expressions
  • Place value
Lesson Duration 20 mins
Grade Range 6th - 7th Grade

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