The problems in this section use the balance scale as a model for the equality relationship.
Groups: Discuss Problems A1-A3 as a whole group before going on to solve the balance scale puzzles.
For the equation in Problem A3, the equal sign acts as a symbol for students to do something or to perform the given operation. In other words, the equal sign connotes "give the answer to what comes before." This is a beginning notion of equality that at times interferes with a broader concept of equivalence.
In fact, many students in elementary and middle school will argue that the equation in Problem A1(c) is impossible because "y" is not an "answer."
Although the equal sign signifies an equivalence relationship in all of the equations, the solution sets are different for some of the equations.
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