The other day I shared the beginning two activities in our preschool unit, E is for Equals. In those two activities we focused on helping the children gain the understanding that the equal sign means the two sides are the same. This is a concept often lost on elementary students, which can cause them difficulty when they start manipulating equations in later schooling.

Today, I share a reinforcement activity that helps students continue to understand the meaning of the equals sign.

**Objective 1: **Help children solidify the concepts, regarding the equals sign, taught in the earlier lessons.

**Objective 2: ** Help children continue to develop their understanding of one-to-one correlation.

**Vocabulary**:

Equation – meaning a number sentence.

**Materials:**

One E is for Equals worksheet (with bees) for each child. Click here for the free printable.

One E is for Equals worksheet (with circles) for each child. Click here for the free printable.

Scissors for each child

**Procedure:**

Begin by having the children cut out the bees and numbers. Talk to them about each number and what it means. Explain that the number one means one thing, in this case one bee, and so on. Have the children place the numbers in one pile and the bees in a second pile. Have them take the small sign that says “Equals means the same” and place it under the equal sign on the worksheet.

Now, explain to the children that the bees and numbers are going to be used in a game. Tell them that you are going to make a pile of bees on one side of the equal sign, and they need to find the correct number to place on the other side of the equal sign, making the sides the same. Play this way until the children seem to have a good grasp of what each number means.

Switch roles, and have the children make the bee pile, and you find the correct number to balance the equation. Play this way for as long as the children seem interested.

Finally, explain that you are going to set up an equation (number sentence) that is not the same on both sides and that it will be the children’s job to fix it so that it is the same. Have fun with this part of the activity and be sure to compliment the children on the progress and knowledge they are learning.

Also, for older children (Kindergarten or first grade) this game can be modified so that the children use addition or subtraction to make the equation balance. We did this once with my preschooler, where she placed ten bees on the one side of the equal sign. There wasn’t the number ten included in the worksheet, so I used seven and three. I explained that seven added to three equals ten and showed her using my fingers. This concept was a little advanced for her right now, and boggled her mind for a moment. But for Kindergarten and first grade children, it should be familiar and good practice.

My daughter really enjoyed these games and making the number sentence the same on both sides. In fact, she enjoyed it so much that I’m going to turn the printables into a file folder game for her. She asked to play with the bees the next morning, too