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This online manipulative features a virtual balance scale. It offers students an experimental way to learn about solving linear equations involving negative numbers. The applet presents an equation for the student to illustrate by balancing the scale using blue blocks for positive units and variables and red balloons for negative units and variables. The student then works with the arithmetic operations to solve the equation. A record of the steps taken by the student is shown on the screen and on the scale. The applet reinforces the idea that what is done to one side of an equation must be done to the other side to maintain balance. Instructions for using the applet, background information about solving equations, and teaching suggestions are included. Also found is a link to the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) Standard for Algebra for grades 6-8. Copyright 2005 Eisenhower National Clearinghouse
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