Students use weights to represent equal and unequal situations on a balance scale and represent them symbolically.
- An equation is a statement that shows that two expressions are equivalent. An equal sign (=) is used between the two expressions to indicate that they are equivalent. You can think of the two expressions as being “balanced.”
- An inequality is a statement that shows that two expressions are unequal. The symbols for “greater than” (>) and “less than” (<) are used to indicate which expression has the greater or lesser value. In an inequality, you can think of the two expressions as being “unbalanced.”
Goals and Learning Objectives
- Explore a balance scale as a model for equations and inequalities.
- Understand that an equation states that two expressions are equivalent using an equal sign (=).
- Understand that an inequality states that one expression is greater than (>) or is less than (<) another expression.
- Use the equal sign (=) and the greater than (>) and less than (<) symbols with rational numbers.