doodle notes! I had already introduced variables with symbols on the first day of school, so they quickly saw that the symbols represented variables. But after we did a few examples with the symbols, I saw a lot less errors like 2x+5=7x - and if they did make that error, I could say, "Remember what happened when we did bell minus raindrop - we couldn't actually do that, right? Just like you can't add 5 to 2x."
When I displayed this problem, I asked, "What makes this equation different than the other two?" and students pointed out the "numbers" and "two planes," which we translated into coefficients and like terms.
This also led to good discussion of how you do not need like terms to divide (or multiply).
We did a few more examples until I felt like students understood how to use solve them and then I presented this "Check all that apply" question type. I love multiple-part questions like this that require them to work out several different problems. They had to determine which equations where solved correctly for the indicated variable. This led to some great discussions
Then it was time to practice. Amanda, at Free to Discover, had this awesome Solving Literal Equations Scavenger Hunt, and I was excited to try it out! I hung the 12 problems all around my room and students took their notebook around with them and solved. I loved how these problems really challenged students because several had similar answers.
I also had one class that was not ready for the problem that required them to factor a GCF, so I just wrote a Post-It on it that said, "Free answer - head to __" and gave them the next picture.
I feel like this lesson was very successful. It helped students with the process of solving equations and I know I will be glad I took the extra time early when we get to linear functions next month.
I hope you find something here the you can use in your classroom too! :)