During my First Grade interventions we work on building solid foundations of number. Here we are breaking numbers apart, building numbers, and looking at the meaning of the equal sign through balanced equations.

We are also looking equations written in different ways. For example, writing an equation with the answer first such as 7=3+4, missing addends like 9=?+6 or balancing the expressions on each side 6+7=10+3.

We learn that the equal sign does not mean, "here comes the answer" but rather has a bigger meaning to let us know that there needs to be balance on each side of the equal sign. Each side of the equal sign has a quantity or expression that is the same. One side = the other side.

The Common Core Standards state that first graders should have an understanding of the equal sign and whether equations are true or false based on this understanding. In these pictures, the student is making sense of the equal sign through ten frames, a balance scale, writing equations, and breaking numbers apart.