### Pan balance problems to teach algebraic reasoning

Today I have a "goodie" for you all: a free download of some pan balance (or scales) problems where children solve for the unknown: Just right click on the link and "save" it to your own computer: Balance Problems (a PDF). This lesson is also included in my book Math Mammoth Multiplication 2 and in Math Mammoth Grade 4 Complete Worktext (A part). The problems look kind of like this: These can help children avoid the common misconception that equality or the equal sign "=' is an an operation. It is not; it is a relationship. You see: many students view "=" as "find the answer operator", so that "3 + 4 = ?" means "Find what 3 + 4 is," and "3 + 4 = 7" means that when you add 3 and 4, you get 7. To students with this operator-view of equality, a sentence like "11 = 4 + 7" or "9 + 5 = 2 × 7;" makes no sense. You might also find these resources useful: Balance word problems from