How Do Balance Scales Shape K–2 Students' Understandings of Equations?

This poster shares data from a Grades K–2 cross sectional study that examined how students' thinking about equations and the meaning of the equal sign were shaped by their experiences exploring equations with pan balances and number balances. The study found that these tools afforded students opportunities to reconsider their initial interpretations of equations, connect the idea of a balancing scale to a balancing equation, and notice structure in equations. In addition, these tools helped reveal student difficulties with the ways in which they interpreted equations and the meaning of the equal sign. This poster was created for the SREE Spring 2020 Conference.