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Lesson plan

Write and Solve One-Step Equations for Word Problems Lesson Plan


In this lesson, students will learn how to write and solve one-step equations for word problems. Students will start by writing expressions to represent a scenario and transition to writing an equation. Students practice writing equations with addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. You can expect this lesson with additional practice to take one `45`-minute class period.

Grade 6
Expressions, Equations, And Inequalities
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Students will be able to write and solve one-step equations for word problems.


  • Teacher slideshow
  • Online practice

How to Teach Writing and Solving One-step Equations for Word Problems


Students should review one-step expressions before writing equations. This problem will be expanded on to become an equation, but students will start with just numbers.

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When reviewing, make sure students are able to explain what operation they used and why. Even though students will have their answers written, have students also write expressions using the numbers, such as `4 \times 8`. 

Using variables in expressions

To transition to using variables, ask students how they could represent the amount of money she made. Because of their expressions from the warm up, they should easily recognize that it would become `4x`.

Writing one-step equations

Once students have their expressions to represent the amount she made, add more information to transition to writing an equation. Allow students a moment to write their equation and solve it. They should check their answers with a partner.

When reviewing with students, it can be helpful to have them reflect on the process they took to write an equation. Students should also be able to explain how they solved the equation. Some students may still struggle with inverse operations, so review them if necessary.

Example with addition

For this example, allow students a couple of minutes to try and answer the questions. Because students tend to struggle less with addition, you may find that students do not need too much support; however, make sure students are able to explain why they chose addition.

Despite the leading questions, you may find that some students process this problem slightly differently and write an equation like `72 - 15 = x`. Make sure the student is able to explain why the equation is still valid, but consider encouraging them to keep the same form of the expression from #`3`.

Example with subtraction

Students often struggle with the order for subtraction. The scaffolding can help reduce this issue; however, it will be important to make sure students understand why they are subtracting `10`.

Encourage students to use their expressions to help them write the equation to avoid having students write `34 + 10 = x`. Although the equation is valid, let students know that they want to represent the situation as they are presented because equations will get more complicated in the future.

Writing and solving one-step equations

For these examples, have students work with a partner. Students should begin by only writing the equations. Then, have students compare their equations with a partner and justify their reasoning. Once students agree on their equations, they should work together to solve the equations.

If students seem to be struggling, remind them of the process they were using previously, where they used random values before using a variable. This can help some students overcome the hurdle of determining the operation. You will want to be mindful of the following misconceptions:

  • Chooses the wrong operation
  • Writes the division in the opposite order 
  • Does not use the correct inverse operation to solve the equation

Writing and Solving One-step Equations for Word Problems Practice

After you’ve completed the examples with the whole class, it’s time for some independent practice! ByteLearn gives you access to tons of practice problems for writing and solving one-step equations for word problems. Check out the online practice and assign to your students for classwork and/or homework!

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Writing and Solving One-step Equations for Word Problems Practice
Problem 1 of 5
<p>James bought a bag of dog food for his dog, Bruce. The bag had enough food to last `30` days. Bruce gets `5` cups of dog food each day.</p><p> Write an equation to represent the number of cups of dog food `(c)` in the bag at the start.</p>

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