B. Strand: Algebra, Genre: Fiction

To be revised

Comments: Remember algebra can be as simple as pattern recognition. Work on the main body.. Add more math words throughout the story. Check for math accuracy. Can include some math questions (part of story or end of story). Proofread.

The students of Mr. Beckman's class have been on winter vacation since last week. Today is Monday and their first day back to school. It is still very cold and snowy outside, so the students of Mr. Beckman's class put on their hats, coats, and boots before riding the yellow school bus to Willow Tree elementary school. When they arrive to their classroom they are surprised to find that their classroom pets have multiplied since they have been gone and now cover the whole room. Tommy and Sara couldn't sit in their seats because there were six rabbits in each of their seats. Becca and Alex could hang up their coats or put away their boots because a family of gerbils was living in their lockers.

"Well, will you look at that!" exclaimed Mr. Beckman, "how do you think that happened?"
"There are six rabbits in my seat!" said Tommy.
"Mine too!" said Sara, "We only used to have 2 rabbits!" Sara and Tommy gathered up all of the rabbits and counted them. "There were six in my seat..."
"and six in mine," said Tommy, "so now we have 12 rabbits!"
"That's right," said Mr. Beckman. "How many more rabbits do we have now than we did before?"
"Well, we had 2, and then there were some added, and now we have 12," began Tommy.
"So there is a number we don't know!" added Sara. Mr. Beckman wrote a number sentence on the board, but this number sentence had a number after the equal sign. The missing number was in the middle. It said, "2+ _=12"
"Let's fill in the blank spot so that we don't get mixed up," he said. He rewrote the problem to read "2+x=12."
"That's not a number" shouted Becca.
"Yeah, Becca is right! X is NOT a number Mr. Beckman! You can't use letters in math," replied Alex.
"Good observations Becca and Alex," said Mr. Beckman. "I put a letter in the blank because we don't know the correct number. We put in an X to substitute. The X that I wrote on the board is called a variable."
"What's a variable?" asked Tommy.
"A variable is a symbol that represents a quantity or a specific amount of something."
"Oh, so the X would be how many more rabbits we have now than we did before!" exclaimed Becca.
"That's exactly right!"
"So what do we do now?" asked Sara.
"Well, by finding X, we find out how many more rabbits we have now than before," explained Mr. Beckman.
"Oh!" exclaimed Alex, "I get it now! X has to be equal to 10!"
"Very good, Alex! How did you get that?" asked Mr. Beckman.
"I thought of what number added to 2 would equal 12, so that number must be 10."
"Yes that is one way to think about it. Is there any other way?"
"You could subtract!" Tommy spoke up, "Because 12 minus 2 is 10, the answer Alex got!"
"Yes, Tommy! You can subtract the 2 from the 12," explained Mr. Beckman. "Now let's find some cages for all our new class pets!"

A. Math Taxonomy: Algebra

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