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Lesson Plan: Solving One-Step Equations using Addition or Subtraction

written by: Ginean Royal • edited by: Carly Stockwell • updated: 1/3/2013

This is a lesson plan that will demonstrate to students how to solve one-step equations by using addition and subtraction.

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    Once the students have learned how to write equations (a) translating sentences into equations and (b) translating equations into sentences, the students will now solve one-step equations using addition and subtraction.

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    Common Core State Standards

    A.REI.1: Explain each step in solving a simple equation as following from the equality of numbers asserted at the previous step, starting from the assumption that the original equation has a solution. Construct a viable argument to justify a solution method.

    A.REI.3: Solve linear equations and inequalities in one variable, including equations with coefficients represented by letters.

    Mathematical Practice(s): 6. Attend to precision

    Learning Target(s)

    • I can apply order of operations and inverse operations to solve equations
    • I can construct an argument to justify my solution process

    Essential Question(s)

    In what ways can the problem be solved and why should one method be chosen over another?

    Vocabulary: inverse operation, isolate, variable, constant

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    LESSON - Solve by Adding


    • Instruct that minus and negative are equivalent
    • GOAL: to isolated the specified variable
    • Instruct that what is done on one side of the equation (= sign), must be done on the other side of the = sign.

    Problem: k – 16 = 12

    Step 1: Identify the variable we are solving for: (k)

    Step 2: To isolate that variable, you must do the inverse operation to get zero by the variable (cancel out). For example: if you have +6 by the variable, you would subtract 6 from both sides of the equation and vice versa.

    K – 16 = 12

    +16 +16

    Step 3: Add or subtract (depending on your signs) your constants:

    K – 16 = 12

    +16 +16

    K = 28 (-16 + 16 = 0, so you don’t have to write it)

    Guided Practice: 3-6 practice problems. You can do 1or 2 problems with the students at the board (Smart Board, Elmo, etc.) and then put them in small groups of no more than 3 to do the rest. These problems can be pulled from any textbook or other resource.


    • Go to
    • Click on algebra (under integers)
    • Choose the length you want (10 is the minimum)
    • Choose the level you want. Level 1 is simple one-step equations
    • Check Solve (x) only
    • This website can be used for many other topics also. Please browse this free website.

    Independent Practice: 10-15 problems to be done alone. These problems can be pulled from any textbook or other resource.

    Closure/Review: Ask 1-3 questions relating to today’s lesson to be answered by the class as a whole. This will give you a general idea of the class’ understanding of today’s topic.

    Exit Ticket: This is to be done the last 3-5 minutes of class and given to you (by hand or in a designated area of your room) as they leave class. Possible questions:

    1. Define in your own words or provide an example of isolate, variable and constant.
    2. Solve x – 16 = 10.
    3. What is the inverse of +6?