# Day 89: The One With the Mystery Bag Explanation

Oops. So I missed a few days.

We just wrapped the first week of school. Our new unit is on solving equations, which builds on a simplifying unit from this year and actually overlaps a lot with a unit we did last year in hopes of helping students who struggled last year and fixing a lot of lingering misconceptions.

Trying to figure out if I should blog about some past highlights (video project, design plan project, semester-end portfolios, the Winnie the Pooh talking piece that my 18 year olds keep stealing). Yay/nay?

Photo: Mystery Bag Explanation

To build up to solving equations, we have the kiddos work with “mystery bags” and algebra tiles. We’re at the stage where the kiddos push from mystery bags (where they feel pretty successful) to algebra tiles (where they are also pretty successful). (We tend to lose them in writing the steps to the equation)

This photo comes with a story over math or English content. The kiddos had to write the answer, but also explain how they got it. After the 2nd problem, one kiddo calls out from the table next to me, “Why do we have to explain our work? We always just subtract and then divide!”

So they see the pattern for now. Hopefully it carries on as the work gets more challenging.