See old layout

Instructor Overview

Students play an Expressions Game in which they describe expressions to their partners using the vocabulary of expressions: term, coefficient, exponent, constant, and variable. Their partners try to write the correct expressions based on the descriptions.

Key Concepts

Mathematical expressions have parts, and these parts have names. These names allow us to communicate with others in a precise way.

  • A variable is a symbol (usually a letter) in an expression that can be replaced by a number.
  • A term is a number, a variable, or a product of numbers and variables. Terms are separated by the operator symbols + (plus) and – (minus).
  • A coefficient is a symbol (usually a number) that multiplies the variable in an algebraic expression.
  • An exponent tells how many copies of a number or variable are multiplied together.
  • A constant is a number. In an expression, it can be a constant term or a constant coefficient. In the expression 2x + 3, 2 is a constant coefficient and 3 is a constant term.

Goals and Learning Objectives

  • Identify parts of an expression using appropriate mathematical vocabulary.
  • Write expressions that fit specific descriptions (for example, the expression is the sum of two terms each with a different variable).