What’s the best way to teach equations?

Teaching equations/formulae/calculations is one of the “classic” difficulties in science education. There’s no one set “best way” and everyone seems to be doing their own thing, normally using some kind of triangle. We aren’t such fans of the formula triangle at CogSciSci for a number of reasons, many of which are detailed in the blogs below. It’s always worth noting that year 6 students are expected to “express missing number problems algebraically” as part of the National Curriculum so perhaps our assumptions that KS3 or 4 students could never rearrange an equation rest on fairly shaky grounds.

These three blogs present different routes to teaching students how to solve equations. The routes differ between them, but what they have in common is an acknowledgment that this is something that all students can achieve – they just need the right guidance.

Pritesh Raichura’s method: https://bunsenblue.wordpress.com/2017/02/14/equations-in-science/

Tom Millichamp’s EVERY method: https://medium.com/@tomchillimamp/anatomy-of-a-slop-calculation-sheet-172c81e38de9

Gethyn Jones’s FIFA method: https://emc2andallthat.wordpress.com/2019/10/27/fifa-for-the-gcse-physics-calculation-win/

3 thoughts on “What’s the best way to teach equations?

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