### Integer Rules Why?

During the month of February, we started reviewing for our State test.  As we learned new concepts and reviewed previous ones we looked at why the rules work and how did they work. This took time, it time that many may say was a waste or could have been used elsewhere.

For struggling students or students who aren't great at memorizing this is very helpful. I find that in math students are told this is the rule and you need to learn it.  The reason behind the rule isn't explained or shown.  I've been challenging my students to ask questions, seek to know how or why it works, and not just believe something is true because I said it was.

This had led to great discussions.  For example, why does minus a negative change to a plus sign.  You've probably heard two negatives make a positive but why does it work.  We spent a day looking at why the integer rules work.  If they know the reason behind it, it helps as they are working out a problem or building on this skill.

Take a minute and think about how you would solve this equation.

4x + 1 = 3x - 2

I would move the 3x first but it's not the only correct first step.  Solving an equation is a great way to discuss multiple paths to the same answer.  We looked at how we could solve it and some students move x left and other move it right.  You can discuss does it matter which side x is on.

If your students are struggling, I would encourage you to look at the foundational skill you are building on.  I'm finding that if I spend a little extra time on a foundational or prerequisite skill it makes the new skill easier to learn.