Solve Equations with Whole Numbers


Solve Equations with Whole Numbers discusses parentheses and brackets in equations and how to solve these equations correctly. Students will learn about the order of operations and understand that these symbols help them properly solve complicated expressions. This lesson focuses only on whole numbers. It does not introduce decimals or fractions.

There are a few suggestions in the “Options for Lesson” section that provide some alternatives to how you teach the lesson. For instance, you may want to make the activity a competition to see who can complete the most equations correctly in the shorted amount of time. You can also have students create their own problems for other students to solve.

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What our Solve Equations with Whole Numbers lesson plan includes

Lesson Objectives and Overview: Solve Equations with Whole Numbers explains how to use parentheses and brackets to solve equations. It describes the role of these symbols in the order of operations. Students will learn how to solve expressions correctly that contain both parentheses and brackets. By the end of the lesson, students will be very familiar with these symbols and use them correctly.

There are three content pages in this lesson. First, students will learn about parentheses, which group numbers together in an equation. And students must first solve the part in the parentheses before completing the expression. This is the first step in the order of operations. The lesson provides a few examples to illustrate this concept before moving on to brackets.

Brackets are very similar in that they group things together, and in this case, multiple groups. The more complicated an expression, the more types of brackets people have to use. Students will learn from the examples how to solve the parts of an equation inside multiple parentheses within brackets. It can be confusing, so it is important to thoroughly explain the order of operations.


The activity may be tricky for some of your students. You can pair them up or divide them into groups to work together. For this worksheet, students must use four 4’s to form every number from 0 to 10. They will use the symbols they learned about in the lesson and the four main operators (+ – x ÷). Answers may vary for this exercise, but the answer key provides possible answers. You may even want to go through a couple with the class as practice.


There are two parts to the practice worksheet. First, students will solve several equations and then explain how they found their answers. Then they will solve six different equations.


The homework assignment is similar to the practice worksheet. Students will create an equation to match what the scenario says. Then they will show their work to explain why their answer is correct. Last, they will solve six different equations.