# Simplify Expressions: Equivalent Expressions Cut & Paste {FREE}

Help your kids make sense of algebraic expressions as they simplify expressions & combine like terms in this FREE equivalent expressions cut & paste activity.

Understanding how to work with expressions involving variables can be such a huge leap for kids. On more than one occasion, I’ve had students tell me, “I was great at math until it started to involve letters. What’s up with that??” What I constantly tried to convey to my students was that a variable is still just a number. When you’re feeling stuck, replace it with a number to try and figure out what’s going on. So if your students are feeling frustrated or need extra practice simplifying and evaluating expressions, you will love this simple equivalent expressions cut & paste activity.

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## Materials Needed:

• Scissors
• Glue
• Student handout (free in my shop at the link below)

## Included in the Equivalent Expressions Activity:

The first requires students to simplify expressions, and then match them to the simplified version.

Then students glue them on their answer sheet to show that the expressions are equivalent to each other.

This is an important distinction, because often, students think that they are changing an expression to something else. But in reality, the expressions are equivalent, just written a different way.

This will be important for them to know and understand as they move on to solving equations.

An equation is stating up front that the expressions on either side of the equal sign are just that: equal. Therefore, as students manipulate the expressions, they have to be careful to keep them equal (i.e. not changing something on one side but not the other).

To then practice evaluating their expressions, have students plug in a value to each expression to ensure that they give the same solution.

This might be more challenging for students, and depending on the age and abilities of your students, may require some guidance.

Evaluating when x = 0 is the easiest way to do this, but I would encourage you to let students think and try things on their own before telling them what to do. This will force them to think about what makes two expressions equal or not.

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If you are teaching older students who are not interested in the time it takes to cut & paste, they can also write in the matching expressions on the blank answer sheet.

Just be sure they cross out each expression as they use it so they don’t accidentally use an expression more than once.

### {Click HERE to go to my shop and get this FREE Simplify Expressions Cut & Paste Activity!}

Looking for more Algebra resources? Check out this post full of helpful and FREE lessons and activities.