What’s the quickest way that you could help this student?
Thank you to Anne Bailey for the submission!
Clearly the kid doesn’t have a deep conceptual understanding of how to solve equations or simplify expressions. True, the kid probably learned some stuff proceduraly as opposed to conceptually. (Though, I can confirm, that in this classroom nobody ever said anything, like, “When you have an equation you need to add something to each side to isolate the x.” The balanced-scale model was used at first.)
There’s still two interesting, deeper questions, to consider. (Possibly more: bring it up in the comments.)
a) Would this kiddo always make this mistake, when presented with an expression to simplify?
b) If not, then what exactly is it about this problem that prompts the kid to employ a basic move from equations?
Say something smart about this in the comments.
Thank you to John Weisenfeld for the submission.
The student clearly needs more practice with solving equations. Fine. But why did the student make this mistake, in particular? After all, there are dozens of ways to mess up this problem. Why was this way tempting?
Today’s submissions comes Louise Wilson, who blogs over at Crazed Mummy.