Algebra: Equivalence

Australian curriculum number (ACMNA035; ACMNA036; ACMMG038)

This sequence builds students’ understanding of equivalence as balance. Students develop their understanding of equivalence by looking at balancing scales with blocks of different weights.

This sequence is for students who:

  • are familiar with symbolic recording for addition.
  • have worked with addition facts up to 10 + 10.
  • have experience using balance scales to compare masses of objects.


Lesson 1: Balancing Numbers

Students use weights to find two numbers on one side of the number balance that will balance with two numbers on the other side. They record their solutions as equations, using the equals sign as a symbol denoting balance.

Lesson 2: Balance without Numbers

Students are shown pictures of differently weighted blocks balanced on scales. They then decide whether additional pictures of blocks will balance, using the first set of pictures as a reference. Students are encouraged to complete this activity without using numbers or assigning values to the blocks.


Last updated June 19 2020.