Algebra Lesson Plan on One-Step Equations using Addition or 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.

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

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?

This post is part of the series: Beginner Algebra

Make algebra easier for your students with these introductory lesson plans.

  1. Lesson Plan: Solving One-Step Equations using Addition or Subtraction
  2. Lesson Plan: Solving One-Step Equations using Multiplication or Division
  3. High School Math Lesson Plan: Solving Multi-Step Equations
  4. Lesson Plan: Solving Equations with Variables on Both Sides of the Equation
  5. Algebra Lesson Plan: Solving Absolute Value Equations