It is one thing for students to be able to solve an addition or subtraction equation, but we know that is not all that is needed. In order to truly understand the concept, students also need to be able to take an answer and expand it into a correct equation. That’s why practicing expanded form is so important.
Cupcakes for All
My students generally need lots of practice for this because it combines several skills at the same time. We start with something basic in my class where I give them answer options. My cupcake worksheet is a favorite because it is a cute opportunity for practicing expanded form. It also helps that I often reward my students’ success with actual cupcakes.
Writing Their Own Equations
Once my students have a good grasp on the basics of practicing expanded form I begin to have them write their own equations. In this format I give them a number and they must break the equation into parts. I love to see them be able to put this skill into practice.
We all know that math is constantly combining skills and building on what we already know. When practicing expanded form I can take the opportunity to review number words with my students. I will often require them to answer in both formats.
Learning Can be a Game
Anytime I can make learning seem like a game to my students I feel like I can count the day as a win. When practicing expanded form I love to allow my students to use the spinner method to set up a problem for them to work. Using spinners makes my students feel like they are playing at math, but I know they are learning. This activity is the perfect wrap up to practicing expanded form.