Skip to Content

3 Essential Rules of Math for Solving Equations

I often use the 3 Essential Rules of Math to review solving equations with my algebra students. I learned about these three essential rules from Glenn Waddell.

When I first started, I would have students write out the three rules.

Then, we would make note of when we used each rule while working through some solving equation examples.

solving equations examples in notebook.
solving equations notes in interactive notebook.

This worked well, but I decided to type up the three essential rules of math as a foldable to reduce the amount of writing my kiddos had to do.

3 Essential Rules of Math for Solving Equations Foldable

I was even able to include some examples on the inside of the foldable.

3 Essential Rules of Math for Solving Equations Foldable

We did a few practice problems.  I made them draw in the 1’s and 0’s that they made, but I guess I forgot to do it when I wrote out my own solutions in my notebook.  Oops…

And, for the record, we did more than 3 practice problems.  But, I only copied down three.

solving equations practice page in notebook.

I can’t decide how well I like this method.  The ones and zeros didn’t help my students as much as I’d hoped.  I think if they were taught this way from the beginning, it might work much better.  Once they get to Algebra 2, they seem pretty set in their equation solving ways whether they are doing it correctly or incorrectly.

More Resources for Teaching Solving Equations


Wednesday 17th of February 2016

Teaching this to 7th grade pre-algebra "lite", however, means that they get these mnemonics from the very beginning. It has helped my kids. Thanks!!

Sarah Carter (@mathequalslove)

Friday 19th of February 2016

Awesome! Thanks for sharing!


Tuesday 6th of October 2015

One suggestion: maybe change the word function on the front of the foldable to the word operation?

Sarah Carter (@mathequalslove)

Tuesday 6th of October 2015

I like this. I just stole the original wording I found online.

Comments are closed.