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Identifying Parts of an Expression

This lyric video is the perfect lesson hook for the introduction to expressions for 6th grade students. The idea of variables in algebra having values that can change is the foundation of algebraic thinking, and this song is a great tool for introducing that concept. Students will also be able to identify parts of expressions with mathematical terms such as sum, product, factor, quotient, coefficient, term, and more.

Grades Targeted | 6th Grade

Identifying Parts of an Expression Song Lyrics:

When we solve problems in arithmetic,
(like 2 plus 2 is 4, or 10 minus 4 is 6;
like 10 divided by 5 is 2, or 4 times 2 is 8)
Specific values are stated - and calculated.

But in algebraic expressions we see something strange:
Letters called variables have values that can change.
Look at 2 plus x, what’s the value of x?
Don’t get perplexed, the explanation isn't too complex!

If x equals 6, then the value is 8;
or if we say x is 3, 5’s what we’ll calculate.
The expression’s value changes based on the variable's value,
and in this case the sum will be any number plus 2.

Letters stand for numbers in algebra.
They’re called variables, and they can change on ya’.
We can evaluate an expression’s value,
but it depends on the variable's value to make it true.

Now let’s explore algebraic expressions in our lives,
like shipping a cube-shaped box to my valentine.
S to the 3rd power’s a volume formula, s represents a side -
it’s the variable letting me know if my game will fit inside.

If the value of s is 2 feet, the volume’s 8 cubic feet.
My gift will fit inside, I hope she'll think it’s sweet!
Now, to wrap my present up, I’ll find the surface area...
I know A=6s squared is the area formula.

S is the variable, but since I know the length's value is 2,
I’ll plug in the 2 feet, and then I know just what to do…
2 squared is 4, then times 6 is 24.
I’m using algebra to get my crush to like me even more!


To identify parts of expressions, we use mathematical terms:
Sum, product, factor, quotient, coefficient, term, are words we’ll learn.
We find products when we multiply, quotients when we divide,
but let’s look at the vocab closer, and take a deep dive.

For example, let’s describe the expression 3(2+4).
We can describe it as the product of two factors.
And if we look at just (2+4) we can either see
it as the sum of two terms, or a single entity.

The next word we’ll review is the coefficient.
Let's look at n + n + n + n...
We could say 4 x n or 4n, without the sign.
4’s called the coefficient, a number telling us how many times to multiply.


Learn More

This song targets TEKS and Common Core learning standards from 6th Grade. Look into the relevant standards here, or dig deeper in Equations and Expressions here.

If you are interested in getting ideas on how to plan a robust Integers lesson, we recommend checking out Instructure's recommendations for common core standards 6.EE.2. This page helps break down standard language, lay out the grade-appropriate level of rigor, and offers a variety of suggestions for activities (lesson seeds) that help students achieve their learning targets.

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