July 28, 2015
by Rhondra Lewis

Lesson plan

Express Yourself!

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Do you need extra help for EL students? Try the Writing About Math Expressions pre-lesson.
EL Adjustments
Grade Subject View aligned standards
Do you need extra help for EL students? Try the Writing About Math Expressions pre-lesson.

Students will interpret numerical expressions without solving them and write simple expressions.

The adjustment to the whole group lesson is a modification to differentiate for children who are English learners.
EL adjustments
(5 minutes)
  • Review the commutative property of multiplication and the order of operations.
  • Teach students that expressions are a series of numbers and symbols, such as +, -, x, and ÷, without an equal sign.
  • Write the expression 5 (4 + 3) on the board.
  • Tell students that when that expression is worked out it is called an evaluation of the expression.
  • The expression equals 35, therefore 5 (4 + 3)= 35 is the equation.
  • Tell students that the expression 5 (4 + 3) is 5 times larger than the expression (4 + 3).
  • Let students know that today they are going to evaluate the relationship between expressions and write their own expressions to evaluate.
(10 minutes)
  • Write the steps "double five and then add 50" on the board.
  • Ask students to write an expression for the steps above.
  • They should write (5 x 2) + 50 or 5 + 5 + 50.
  • Write the expression 6 (10 x 10) on the board.
  • Ask students to describe, in writing, how the expression relates to (10 x 10).
  • They should write that the expression 6 (10 x 10) is 6 times larger than the expression (10 x 10).
  • Choose volunteers to create their own expressions like the two you just modeled and explain them.
  • Guide students through the process of evaluating their expressions orally.
(10 minutes)
  • Allow students to form pairs or small groups.
  • Pass out the Welcome to Mummy's Market worksheet.
  • Advise students that they should work with a partner or group to write an expression and evaluate the expressions.
  • Remind students to refer back to their notes from the models you provided.
(20 minutes)
  • Pass out blank paper.
  • Tell students that they are going to work alone to create their own expressions and evaluate the relationships between the numbers just like they have been practicing.
  • Students may need an example to get them started.
    • Example: write an expression in words, such as "divide 144 by 12, and then subtract 20." Students should write (144 ÷ 12) – 20 and go on to write that the expression (144 ÷ 12) – 20 is 20 less than (144 ÷ 12).


  • Struggling students can use the Multiply It! worksheet during the guided practice.


  • Advanced students can evaluate expressions that contain fractions, decimals, etc.
(15 minutes)
  • Pass out the Express Yourself assessment.
  • Advise students to use a blank sheet of paper to show their work.
  • Remind them that they must follow the directions and answer the questions completely.
(5 minutes)
  • Write the following expression on the board: (200 ÷ 10) x 0.5.
  • Have students identify the expressions and equation.
  • Then have students evaluate the expression without calculating it: "(200 ÷ 10) x 0.5 is ½ of (200 ÷ 10)."
  • Ensure that students can create a word problem or steps for this equation: divide 200 by 10 then multiply by a half.

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