# Why You Should Teach Your Kids About Equal Not Equal: A Mathematical Concept Explained

BLUE STUDIOS: STEM CLASSES FOR KIDS

BLUE STUDIOS: STEM CLASSES FOR KIDS

Before teaching the equal sign, we need to have a baseline of its meaning. When using the equal sign, whatever is on the left must be equivalent to what is on the right of the sign. Cambridge Dictionary1 states that the equal sign is “…used to show that two things are the same in value, size, meaning, etc.” Now that we have a baseline understanding of the equal sign, let’s look at how to teach this concept to students. TEACHING THE EQUAL SIGN TO YOUNG STUDENTS Using a balance is the best way to teaching equal sign to kindergarten students. It is the most basic and hands-on manipulative way to work with the equal sign concept. Use a large marker and piece of paper to write the equal sign symbol (=) and attach it to the center of the beam between the two pans. Also, it is very important to make sure to use the language “the same as” when using a definition of the equal sign. Use like items to show an equation on both sides. Showing equations that are true and false teaches students how to problem-solve to get the correct answers. Let’s look at some specific resources to help you teach the equal sign to students

## What is the meaning of the equal sign?

TARGET KIDS Younger kindergarten and first graders are most likely to understand that comparing equal signs equal equals equals equals. KINDERGARTEN: Use a large marker and piece of paper to write the equal sign symbol (=) and attach it to the center of the beam between the two pans. Also, it is very important to make sure to use the language “the same as” when using a definition of the equal sign. Use like items to show an equation on both sides. Showing equations that are true and false teaches students how to problem-solve to get the correct answers. WHEN WILL YOU USE THIS ACTIVITY WITH YOUR KINDERGARTEN CLASS? This activity will help teach the equivalent sign of the equal sign.

## How to teach the concept of the equal sign to young students

ENGLISH VERSION What does the equal sign mean? A straight line bisects a line that is equal in length, or that is equal in length to one of its sides. Use a ruler to mark the equal sign on the line. What is a straight line? What is equal? When using a ruler and a piece of paper, each side has the same length. What is equal? Give a definition for the word “equal”. What is equal? Compare the two sides of the equal sign. WHAT IS EQUAL? Using the equal sign (=) to show something is equal is used to show that two things are the same in value, size, meaning, etc. This is useful because it helps to make sure that what is on each side is equal. By using this example, we can show that two strings are equal, not equal in length or equal in weight. What is the equal sign?

## Teaching the equal sign to students

1. LOGICAL INTELLIGENCE FOR CHILDREN Written by Jean-Paul Aydin, this book uses an equal sign to demonstrate using the logical skills needed for thinking about mathematical ideas. You may have seen this book in your school’s curriculum. Use the Equal Sign with students to illustrate the following word problems: The orange is smaller than the green but bigger than the blue. The orange is smaller than the green but bigger than the blue. The purple and pink are both the same size as the blue. 2. LOGICAL INTELLIGENCE FOR CHILDREN Written by David Ritchie, this book uses an equal sign to demonstrate using the logical skills needed for thinking about mathematical ideas. You may have seen this book in your school’s curriculum.

## Conclusion

Educators don’t often teach equal signs. It is typically reserved for special education classes to help kids with different learning styles and abilities. But I believe that the equal sign is just as important as more common symbols like the crosswalk, smiley face, an exclamation point. In fact, it is one of the most common symbols in the language. It shouldn’t be left out in any way. Just like with all the other graphics, including the crosswalk, teach the students what the symbol means and how to use it. Teach them in context with how you use it in real life. Give them examples in a way that will inspire them and help them see that the equal sign really does mean the same thing to everyone. It doesn’t matter if you are a teacher or student, or even a homeowner.