Solving equations can be super frustrating for students who have a hard time identifying like terms or who have trouble with integer operations. They'll try combining terms over the = sign, get confused with the order of the steps or not even know how to get started at all. This can lead to our students feeling really badly about themselves and we don't want that.

I made this graphic organizer when I was teaching a mainstream 11th grade Algebra 2 class. Some of my students kept making mistakes when solving equations and were getting really down about it. I needed to give them something that not only helped with equation solving but also with self-esteem.

Instead of like terms, this graphic organizer first focuses on the + and - signs, which are visually much easier to find. From there, a series of questions guides students through the equation solving process, depending on which side of the = sign has variables.

Once students are pretty confident in their ability to solve equations, a fun way to celebrate is by completing a math pennant activity that will double as classroom decor. This activity is a free solving 2-step equations pennant. Even my seniors love seeing their work displayed. I love it too, especially on harder days when kids feel like giving up. I can point to their work and say, "Yes, you CAN." You can find the solving equations graphic organizer for free here.

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