Math Background

Writing and Solving One-Step
Linear Equations in One Variable: Tips and Tricks

  • Make sure students know the three important ideas for solving linear equations: (1) isolate the variable; (2) use the inverse operation to undo what was done to the variable; and (3) make sure the equation is balanced by doing the same thing to both sides of the equation.
  • When solving word problems using equations, make sure students write down what the variable represents.
  • Be sure students check their answers by substituting the answer into the equation.
  • Have students properly label their answers. Most answers will require a label if the answer is for a word problem.
  • Remind students that addition and subtraction are inverse operations and that multiplication and division are inverse operations.
  • When solving word problems, be sure to emphasize the four-step process.
  • Give students an equation such as y − 6 = 19 and ask them to write a word problem that can be solved by solving the equation. Reversing the process is a good way to help your students increase their understanding of word problems.

Houghton Mifflin Math Grade 6